By Claudine Kapel
Although job evaluation is essential for maintaining pay equity compliance, what it can deliver goes well beyond keeping regulators happy.
Because even if pay equity is not in your organization’s vocabulary, you still face the same questions and challenges when it comes to ensuring you are paying employees fairly and appropriately.
How do you validate that your jobs are at the right level? How do you define which jobs are at the same level – especially given how diverse those jobs can be? Where are the equivalencies when comparing jobs requiring depth of expertise versus those with a breadth of accountability? How do you compare managerial roles with those held by individual contributors?
Of course, if you’ve ever spent seemingly endless days in a meeting room evaluating jobs, you may describe the process as something other than joyful.
But a sound job evaluation process gets to the heart of key organizational design considerations. It sets out defensible criteria for establishing a job hierarchy. And it provides a framework for defining which jobs are peers and should thus be at the same organizational level.
Those of you who work for an organization that is covered by either federal or provincial pay equity legislation already know the drill. Job evaluation outcomes form the basis of pay equity analysis – and an organization’s ability to demonstrate regulatory compliance in this arena.
Organizations that aren’t covered by pay equity legislation sometimes argue that market data can be used to define which jobs are equivalent. That is certainly the prevailing practice south of the border.
But the reality is that most organizations will have some – or even many – jobs that they can’t readily map to market data. Further, market data is subject to a lot of year-over-year variances. So it doesn’t really represent a stable anchor for supporting organizational design decisions.
That’s part of the value of a good job evaluation process, especially a point factor approach that allocates a numeric point score to each job. This approach gives you a thoughtful and consistent way to compare apples and oranges with respect to job content. This enables you to map jobs to organizational levels fairly, regardless of how different these jobs might be.
If pay equity compliance isn’t a concern, there are other classification approaches such as career level frameworks than can be applied to support the development of a credible job hierarchy. Strategically, the desired end state is a job hierarchy that makes sense to both the company and its employees.
A solid foundation is the key to any building’s structural integrity. The same principle applies to organizational structures as well.
Claudine Kapel is principal of Kapel and Associates Inc., a Toronto-based human resources and communications consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of compensation and total rewards programs. For more information, visit www.kapelandassociates.com