Job leveling is fundamental to organizational success because it creates transparent career paths in the workplace. It helps candidates and employees understand exactly what’s expected of them in a particular role, how they fit into an organization, and what they need to do in order to get a promotion. Although it seems simple in essence, the implementation of job leveling at the organizational level requires pragmatic and strategic steps, including a job leveling framework. Keep reading to find out what job leveling is, why it's important, and to learn the steps for job leveling implementation within your organization.
What is Job Leveling - And Why Is It Important?
‘’Job leveling is a process that defines and evaluates the knowledge and skills that are necessary to perform the job and establishes the job's duties, responsibilities, tasks, and level of authority within the organization's job hierarchy.” - The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Job leveling, also known as job classification or job grading, is a human resources system used to:
- Define a job's duties and responsibilities
- Establish career pathways for specific roles
- Create clear hierarchical levels within the organization
Job leveling within an HR team might look like:
Level 1: HR Assistant
Level 2: HR Generalist
Level 3: HR Manager
Level 4: Senior HR Manager
Level 5: HR Director
A report on job architecture by Deloitte stated that when done properly, job leveling is a: “consistent methodology and decision support for assigning job levels and titles that are based on enterprise-wide criteria, which eliminates guesswork and promotes trust and confidence in the organization’s job assignments and rewards practices.”
Job leveling is important because it helps candidates and employees understand exactly what’s expected of them in a particular role, how they fit into an organization, and what they need to do in order to get a promotion. Although it is more than just a job description, job descriptions are also an important component of job leveling.
Job leveling provides a number of short and long-term organizational benefits. Let’s take a look at them below:
Alignment: With an appropriate job leveling structure, every position is aligned specifically with the company's overall strategy, culture and business needs.
Consistency: Once every job has been leveled, all job descriptions and advancement opportunities will have the same consistent language.
Connection: Job leveling helps establish and support clear connections from one position to another.
Data-driven: In most job leveling instances, the overall organizational structure is tied to data and research.
Cost savings: Since every position has a clear description and level within the overall structure, recruiting and hiring are made easier and save money and time.
Equity: A transparent and consistent job leveling system ensures equity across all roles.
Although the benefits of job leveling are clear, many organizations struggle with successful implementation. According to an industry study, three out of four employees feel alone or unclear about the next steps in their career journey. With this in mind, let’s examine how to job level effectively in the next section:
How To Job Level Effectively
Depending on the size of your organization, job leveling can be a time-consuming endeavor, but one that should help your organization to run more efficiently. Use these steps as outlined by Indeed.com to perform job leveling for your organization:
1. Build the right team
Job leveling for an entire company requires input from many stakeholders. Build a team that consists of top company leadership, mid-level managers and human resources representatives to help you accurately describe each role and develop a framework for movement within the company.
2. Consider the organization as a whole
Begin the actual job leveling by looking at the organization as a single unit. Consider how many different "levels" currently exist in the company and how many levels you'd like to have after the job leveling process. For example, you might have entry-level employees, team leaders, managers and leaders, but hope to develop a level between managers and leadership to better manage high-level planning and responsibility. Establish these levels before addressing each specific position.
3. Approach one role at a time
Look at one job at a time. Begin by listing the specifics you already know about the job, like its current title, level — if there is one — and job responsibilities. Once you've established a baseline for the position, update the title and level as needed to reflect the goals of your job leveling endeavor and ensure the job duties listed use the same type of language you'll use for all the other job descriptions and accurately describe the role's duties and responsibilities.
4. Establish connections
After you've appropriately leveled each position within the company, look at the organization as a single unit again. Consider how each job connects to the one above or below it. Establish clear and consistent pathways to growth for as many positions as possible. Add these pathways to each job description.
5. Seek feedback
Ask for feedback on your initial job leveling document from a variety of internal stakeholders. Adjust job descriptions, titles or levels as needed to best reflect each position and the goals of the company. Once complete, share the job leveling structure with everyone in the organization and field questions about it as needed.
The Benefits of Job Leveling
Job leveling gives HR an appropriate framework to help with building out teams and organizations. With the right job leveling structure in place, HR teams can create an environment that fosters the success of employees within your organization. The more your job leveling is informed by market comparisons, hiring managers, and employee feedback, the more it will be catered to the needs of your specific company and create a more equitable workplace.
Watch our recorded webinar about job leveling with a panel of HR, job leveling, and total rewards experts.