The process of job classifications has been a mainstay of Human Resource practice for many years. Every now and then, we see articles that say this is an archaic approach and doesn’t serve the organization well. The emphasis is on flexibility and fluidness to meet the fast paced changes that the organization has to deal with. It’s a little like saying, “Let’s not use job titles”. Progressive organizations don’t want to lock in titles because there is baggage and problems that come from such practices. Having no title is more egalitarian.
There are many problems with these open-ended classification strategies. For example, people dealing with these unclassified individuals don’t know their role or authority. The employees don’t have their responsibilities clearly articulated, so they may be held accountable for things they don’t know about or when they step over the lines. It also becomes a problem when you begin to search for people with the skills to do what the boss expects. We are seeing more of this as jobs get stretched to lower costs and reduce the number of employees. It is also becoming more difficult to determine the appropriate pay for people with unusual responsibility job sets. What is the right pay in comparison to the market and those in the organization becomes an essential ingredient in employee retention.
Don’t forget, there is still a responsibility to be in compliance with labor regulations, such as FLSA, for overtime, and to be able to classify employees for EEO compliance, etc. The government doesn’t warm up to these new fangled ideas real fast.
Don’t Be Afraid
It is really important to understand all the ramifications of employee practices, and make sure they are well thought out. Make sure it isn’t a methodology to avoid delicate decisions. Good policies and practices require maintenance and tweaking from time-to-time. They do bring order to an otherwise arena of chaos.