A well-built back office promotes sustainable growth.
Believe it or not, back-office operations can break your business. Too many times, I’ve seen it happen. Finance, human resources, project management, and technology go underinvested and under-professionalized while a business is rapidly growing. Let’s face it, revenue growth can cover a multitude of sins.
Then, suddenly, there is a reality check. We had a very successful client who was ready to go public, but the finance team couldn’t get the books closed fast enough to meet SEC requirements. Another client, with highly independent operating units, was confronted with reality when its Board of Directors was made aware of serious allegations about the leadership culture in one location. A third client didn’t want to take the time to integrate the back offices of acquired entities. After several acquisitions, the COO called to say that there was no way to report revenue by product and the now integrated sales team had become impossible to measure. In all three cases, there was a painful pause on growth while the deferred investments in the back-office became the priority.
Human Resources: Smart People Investments
Human Resources (HR) departments do more than hire and fire or keep an organization in compliance with employment regulations. Good HR aligns with your strategy, adapts the workforce to the needs of the business while keeping employees engaged and growing in their roles. Under investment in HR may take a long time to become apparent, but once it does, fixing the issue is a heavy lift.
An Effective Job Framework
One HR issue we see frequently right now is a poorly constructed or non-existent job framework. Board inquiries about pay equity are surfacing an inability to compare compensation across the organization. At more than one client, we found more job descriptions than employees. A well-designed job framework allows you to make more informed decisions about pay and promotional opportunities. But even more important, a clear, consistent and transparent job framework creates visibility into career paths and opportunities to empower your staff to manage their professional growth.
Employee Development and Career Paths
With an effective Job Framework, employees are able to look across the organization to align their career moves with personal goals and interests. Career evolution may not be linear, an individual may be interested in a role at the same level but within a different family or function. This not only makes for more inspired talent, but it also builds breadth of knowledge about your business enabling cross functional problem solving.
The Job Framework helps to group jobs by the nature of the work, rather than by the organizational or reporting structure. This facilitates decisions and promotes a consistent and equitable approach to compensation.
Finally, an effective Job Framework can help you to answer the question, what are all these people actually doing? How many Financial Analysts do we really have?
Summary: The Benefits of a Job Framework
A new job framework is a project that requires commitment from all levels of leadership and a crisp change management strategy. Once in place, the benefits drive workforce maturity and fairness:
A transparent structure with clearly and consistently defined jobs and levels
Tools to empower employees to explore career development
Provides the ability to make well-informed decisions about pay and promotional opportunities