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What’s the point of job profiles…

What’s the point of job profiles…they just become Excel and or Word documents filed somewhere? They take too long to generate anyway, don’t integrate vital elements and can’t be used by our HCM technology


During my few short years of being involved in various Human Capital projects, I have found the same problem statement in various types of businesses. From large sophisticated and profitable corporate businesses to government/municipal services, this problem statement remains the same.

One of the things that was really odd to me is how simple and obvious the solution is and how quickly we as professionals complicate and over engineer it. A simple thing like a job profile is so critical to integrate and enable value add to the business, but in most cases the job profile design is over complicated, incomplete, not maintained, not defined, not standardised and stored on some ones computer in Word/Excel documents.

The job profile

A job profile is a basic set of information that captures details about a business and defines the workings and that business.  It captures what needs to be done, what skills are required to do the work and what the compensation should be based on the work and the skill required to be able to do the work. It shows how work is managed and handed over from one job to the next.

Once these are defined, employees can be employed to perform the work required, measured to identify gaps and developed by learning and growth paths, they can be compared to other employees that perform the same job in other business areas and measured on their performance against what was advertised and contracted.

Job profiles will never be static as the business will keep changing, growing and adapting to the needs of their markets. To alleviate the “pain” of maintaining a job profile, the key is to keep the design of a job profile template simple, standardised and ensure that when designing it all relevant parties are included (i.e. HC, IT, Service Centre, Business etc).

The power of job profiles

Job profiles provide clarity and the ability to create measures. The employee has clarity on what is expected, the manager has clarity on the ability of an employee and what growth path is required for the employee.

The ability to create measures enables ERP systems to produce valuable information on the business which in turn enables the business to work more efficiently, identify problems pro-actively and redirect the workforce when markets change.

These are all amazing value-adds that can be achieved by a job profile, but to do this, these basic questions need to be answered when designing a job profile template:

  • What should be in the design of the job profile template?
  • What is the process to maintain and manage the quality of the profile data?
  • Is my ERP configured to store all the data on the template?

In conclusion: If you are looking for a quick win to make a big impact in your business, consider designing and implementing a job profile template which describes the work that needs to be performed. This is by no means an easy journey to building a solid foundation, but the value it adds is worth it.

By: Deon Groenewald

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