Explaining Job Architecture

Explaining Job Architecture

People working on job architecture

Would you rather build your home with a blueprint or your very best guess? Unless you’re prone to living on the edge, the answer is easy. A sturdy foundation is a lifesaver, and that applies to your company’s talent strategy too. Job architecture saves your business from numerous headaches, inefficiencies, and inequities. It empowers you to build your workforce confidently. However, many companies don’t know what it takes to implement an effective job architecture or even why it’s worth their time. We’ll dive into both of those questions here.

Job architecture supplies a framework for businesses to understand the roles under each function based on the type of work being performed. It makes staffing decisions more uniform across the board and allows teams to build strategically. Additionally, it establishes clear hierarchies and career paths. Without job architecture, companies basically manage talent by the seat of their pants.

Instead of settling for a patchwork talent approach out of convenience, invest in building out your organization’s job architecture. It’s one big task now that saves you time and money down the road. In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of job architecture, why it matters, and how to get yours started.


What is job architecture?

Job architecture aligns all jobs in a business under a structure that can address workforce planning, job levels, job titling, career movement, and pay. As a result, it dramatically simplifies talent decisions that would otherwise be open to uncertainty. While your setup may vary based on your organization’s needs or even the capabilities of your HRIS, there are a handful of typical elements that comprise a job architecture.

AIHR lays out a solid framework for your business to consider. Under their structure, you have a group at the top, which would be, for example, engineering. Then, descending from there, you have the job function. Job functions in an engineering group could include software development, design, and product.

Below the function tier sits the job families, which are organized based on similar duties, decision-making abilities, and purpose. In job families, you’ll find a title such as “Manager.” After job families, you have the actual job titles under that umbrella, such as senior product manager or product manager I and II.

As you can imagine, the larger your organization gets, the more complex your job architecture becomes. However, that’s why putting a solid structure in place is so important.


Group of business colleagues discussing job architecture at conference table in board room


Why is it important?

Without a defined job architecture, talent management can get pretty chaotic. Decisions tend to be more short-sighted and removed from the larger context of your organization. That leads to issues such as inequitable pay or redundant positions. Essentially, it’s the difference between putting together your furniture with the instructions versus trusting your gut and ending up with a wobbly chair and a bunch of extra screws.

That’s why equitable compensation is harder to achieve if your teams aren’t operating under a common framework. For example, businesses without established job architecture and salary bands are more likely to overpay a highly sought-after candidate, causing pay equity issues throughout their teams. Instead of approaching each offer or promotion on a one-off situational basis, job architecture allows you to place each person into a spot within a predetermined structure.

Moreover, pay inequality or disorganized career pathing causes increased turnover. Turnover hurts morale, stunts productivity, and, of course, leads to even more turnover. Beyond that, it is expensive! When you lose an employee, it costs your business, on average, 1.5-2x their salary.

Finally, this structure helps you identify gaps in your organization and helps everyone understand how their roles fit into the bigger picture. Implementing job architecture may take time and money now, but it’s well worth it in the long run.


Business professionals. Group of young confident business people analyzing job architecture using computer while spending time in the office


How do you create your job architecture?

Now that you understand what job architecture is and why it matters, we’ll walk through a few of the steps you can take to create a structure for your business. First, you must gather information about your organization’s current configuration. Work across departments to understand everyone’s roles, responsibilities, skills, and compensation. This step could reveal some redundancies or skill gaps that you must address.

Next, create job descriptions for all the roles in your organization. You might already have these written out from the recruiting process, but make sure that the content in the description still makes sense given the current scope of the role and that team’s needs. Then, organize the roles into job families and related sub-families, as needed.

After doing all that, you can conduct job evaluations for the current roles. This allows you to determine whether an employee fits that role’s scope or needs a promotion or reassignment. It also reveals whether there are positions that need to be filled in the future.

Once job evaluations are completed, you can align all job levels and titles under a comprehensive compensation strategy. If there are any pay equity issues, you’ll resolve them here. Finally, adjust titles as needed to better align with the industry standards for the scope of that role. For example, if your sales manager is handling the workload of a director, you may want to update their title and compensation.

While these steps offer an overview of creating your job architecture, the process tends to be more meticulous than can be covered in a few paragraphs. HR expertise could prove indispensable in establishing a structure that’s built to last.


Let ADDA draft your talent blueprint

Job architecture is essential for any growing business, but only some know how to organize their roles effectively. When you work with ADDA, you get HR experts who understand what it takes to properly align the roles in your organization for lasting success. Contact us today to get started on your job architecture.

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