What’s in a role? A relic of the industrial age?

27 novembre 2013



How should organizations manage their workforces in the post-industrial age? How should roles be described? More importantly, how does one assess whether a role is being performed adequately or not?

Think about how workforce planning is being done in your organization. Traditionally the human resources department will sit down with senior executives to map out the types of roles and positions the organization needs to maximize performance. These named roles will typically be accompanied by a role description. There even may be a set of named competencies attached to these named roles. Having set up the ‘template’ for the identified roles, they can then be used to recruit new staff, assess current staff, identify training and development programs, or even compare the organization against competency benchmarks. There are several guides and templates for doing this. Sounds very logical and rational? The problem is that this model was designed for an age when the majority of staff were engaged in repetitive industrial style work. Efficiency was achieved through standardizing roles and work instructions. Feedback cycles were short with product defects, clerical errors and the like identified by other compliance checking roles. The end customer was typically several degrees of separation away from the majority of the workforce.
Wind the clock forward to today. The equivalent of a shop floor manufacturing worker or a bank clerical worker is the call centre operator or the fast food restaurant waiter or waitress. Their day-to-day interactions are not with a passive manufactured product or a paper invoice to be created and checked. They deal with end customers. People who can talk back, form opinions and make decisions that can directly impact the fortunes of your organisation. But are we still describing the needs of these key roles in the same way that we would describe the job of a factory or clerical worker of the last century?

Read more at: http://blog.optimice.com.au/#781-1385560158584