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Taking job flexibility to its limits

Just a couple of decades ago, a job was clearly defined, both in terms of expectations and the required skillset needed to accomplish it. In recent years, technology and innovation has led to changes that require a more flexible approach to employment. This new approach requires a less rigid structure, with jobs being crafted to fit and be aligned specifically with an employee's needs and capabilities. Today that change is on going with many organisations blurring the boundaries between jobs and skillset even further with the current gig economy.
Taking job flexibility to its limits


This approach sees teams created per project, with the qualitative and quantitative skillset and capabilities required to complete the project being evaluated. A team is then put together not based on jobs, but on the skillset of the people put into the team. This fluid approach means that an employee could be part of a team because of a particular skill, and once the project is completed, that individual is placed in a new team based on another different skillset they posses.

Not only does that ensure the collective capabilities of an organisation are more effectively utilised, but it also allows employees to have a level of fluidity and change that prevents stagnation and delivers the more varied work experiences that many are seeking.

Taking job flexibility to its limits

However, with many of the processes and thinking that today’s HR is founded on, which were designed in the last century when jobs were a rigid structure, we urgently need to rethink how HR approaches these drastic changes in organisation and approach. While HR is still geared towards a defined job criteria and individual employee, from recruitment to work management, it is not supporting the current paradigm shift in employment we are seeing.

Most of the HR activities today still involve defining roles and choosing individuals. Recruitment requires a defined skillset for a single position, assessments is based on performance in a defined set of criteria, a career path that is set out with a predefined career mapping process to aid succession planning within the organisation.

For instance, think about something simple, such as an organisation chart. If there are no fixed positions, including team leaders, with teams not even existing outside of specific projects, even that becomes impossible to create. When none of those fixed positions exist, how then does HR fulfill their role in this new world of employment?

Changes in thinking and processes are needed, as with jobs themselves, HR must provide agile support that reflects the flexibility of the work environment today. Fast acting, digitally powered, HR for the modern workplace must be the 21st century process that organisations require today.


By Naledi Gallant of Dalitso Holdings

20 Nov 2018 11:47

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