Top tips for implementing a job evaluation framework
1. Involve the right people
Firstly, know who is involved. Who are the stakeholders, is HR Management involved, and who are the job evaluators? We would recommend that everyone involved should understand the process.
So that everyone doing job evaluations follows the same approach, make sure you know who needs training so that the evaluations are consistent across all evaluators. It is good practice to share the evaluation methodology and run through a couple of job descriptions as a group, with each evaluator evaluating by themselves, and then comparing and discussing each role. Any differences can be discussed and understood with everyone following the same approach.
If you have benchmarked any roles, you can incorporate your benchmarking levels into you job evaluations and create a read across between your pay benchmarking and job evaluations. Matching roles into survey levels in pay benchmarking is not robust and defensible enough to double as a job evaluation framework, but it can be and should be used in conjunction with a job evaluation framework as a cross check that roles are levelled consistently.
Before starting job evaluation, we would recommend having a look at what job descriptions you have, and how thorough and detailed they are. A number of clients we have worked with haven’t had job descriptions for all roles and it hasn’t been a showstopper. Missing roles can be evaluated either by talking with the line manager and asking relevant questions, or roles can be ‘slotted’ around anchor roles that have been fully evaluated by essentially ranking roles in order of seniority. Whilst slotting can help and speed job evaluation up, it is less defensible in an equal pay claim.
2. Ensure your job description are up to scratch
Job descriptions form the basis for job evaluation, so a good job description should include clearly defined and identifiable factors that describe and measure each role. These factors provide the basis for assessing and comparing the relative overall worth of different jobs with fairness and consistency.
A job description should not lead or influence the evaluator so should avoid all forms of bias such in language, gender-suggestion and personal data from the current post-holder.
So, what should a good job description contain?
- Details on the level of expertise required for the type of work carried out. Does the role require working knowledge or is expected to be a subject-matter expert?
- Consider how complex the role is in terms of problems encountered and the types of decisions that are to be made.
- How much impact does this role have across the organisation, and how wide is the scope for driving the organisation forward?
- Is the role-holder expected to be influential within the organisation or even outside the organisation, or maybe the role holder doesn’t hold a sphere of influence. Think about the relationships, need for communications and influencing skills that the role would need.
- Does this role manage any resources, whether this be people, technology, finance or 3P providers?
Having job descriptions that use your job evaluation framework terminology such as expertise, complexity, impact, influence and resource is ideal as it is much easier to place the role into the correct level in the framework.
3. Understand what needs to be considered when evaluating a role
Consider if the role has the role changed – as a rule of thumb we look for an activity or responsibility change of 25%. Slight changes in the role, slight changes of tasks, and/or an addition of a new task don’t warrant a new evaluation. The scope of the role needs to have changed by at least 25%. Question whether the role has actually changed or has the workload just increased? An increase in workload doesn’t change the level of a role.
How have the expectations or requirements of the role changed? A change in, for example, knowledge or expertise required for the role could change the evaluation level of a role. And if you don’t consider there to be any significant change, find out what is driving the request for re-evaluation. For example, sometimes there is confusion between job evaluation and pay benchmarking - if the employee thinks they are paid below market, the benchmark would need to be reviewed not necessarily to job evaluation.
4. What to focus on when evaluating a role
Focus on the role not the person. Try to separate the two, as job evaluation is not about an employee’s performance, but about the requirements of the job. Avoid allowing your evaluation of the role to be influenced by the qualities or characteristics of the post-holder.
Concentrate on the core responsibilities of the job rather than the ad hoc or extreme. The core responsibilities are what the post-holder does day-to-day and reflects the majority of the role. Ad hoc and extreme responsibilities should only form a small part of the role so will not have a significant effect on the overall evaluation.
Question the language of a job description. Using active verbs such as ‘manage’, ‘analyse’ or ‘communicate’ that drive the action are often clear and explain the purpose of the role. Job descriptions using passive language such as ‘be responsible for’ or ‘ to be the main focus of……’ can make it more difficult to understand what is required of the role and may actually end up at a level lower than it is expected to be, so in these situations it is worth asking questions to dig deeper.
5. Having completed the evaluation
We would recommend reviewing the outcome in the context of other roles. This includes those roles directly above and below in the same department, but also looking laterally across functions at all roles at the same level. We are comparing roles of equal value regardless of the area in which the role sits. This will ensure that staff are treated fairly. Sometimes a role is scored close to a level boundary, so it could be the level higher or lower than where it has been evaluated, consider reviewing with a colleague for a second opinion.
Feeding back to the request originator is essential so prepare a summary to communicate the outcome to the manager or employee. Transparency into the process provides clarity for employees regarding their position within the organisation and it gives an understanding of how they fit into the bigger picture. Once an evaluation has been completed, the outcome should be communicated to the originator.
If you would like more information about implementing a Job Evaluation framework, or if you would like to see our Job Evaluation tool, Evaluate, in action, please contact me. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our consultancy team on +44 (0)20 3457 0894.