Training & Development

Three Reasons Why Your Job Levels Are Wrong

by Clifford Stephan |

July 15, 2017

Successful companies that grow quickly in a short period of time seem to be doing everything right—they have profits, plans for growth, and a competitive edge. But rapid growth almost always creates a critical weakness for companies: job levels and titles get skewed.

Why does this matter? Job levels are a foundational issue: a company needs to get this right, otherwise it can undermine a company’s ability to keep talent, manage their budget, and maintain their position within the market. Inevitably, misaligned titles and levels create engagement problems, data integrity issues, and lawsuit liability. 

Job architecture usually becomes misaligned for one of three reasons:

1.        Reorganization. Shifting roles around within departments is par for the course in just about any company, but when organizations and job responsibilities get shuffled around, that can mean your job leveling may also change. Employees who take on new roles while keeping their old titles can degrade a company’s job leveling system. It is important to make these new job leveling determinations at the time of the change. Otherwise, these job leveling changes will get lost in the shuffle and begin to erode your data integrity, salary structures, and position to market assumptions.

2.        Inconsistent recruitment practices. This is a common scenario for many companies looking to attract hot talent. A more aggressive manager may want to bring on a ‘superstar employee’ and pay top dollar to secure the talent. Another manager in the same department may take a more conservative approach to setting pay levels for this same employee. Without a strong compensation plan in place, HR’s ability to lead and guide management on these critical decisions can become ineffective, choppy and in most cases, subjective.  The more decisions that are made in this type of ‘vacuum’ of market data and planning places major strain on the integrity of your company’s job levels, and can also be a major source of inequity issues between employees.

3.        Employee data is a moving target. Everyone knows the labor market can change fast, so make sure your global job leveling system is accurate so you can easily reference the right survey benchmarks. Knowing what the competition pays for the same job levels can help you make the right decisions to prevent turnover, keep the right talent, and stay competitive.

Without a clear understanding of your jobs and position to market you may be operating in the dark. But with a little foresight, research, and a clear plan, a solid global job leveling system can keep your budget and employees on track.