Workplaces are evolving — and fast. Technology is redefining roles, businesses are exploring new opportunities, and, most crucially, employee expectations are changing.

Today’s workers seek greater flexibility and mobility in their careers and aren’t afraid to change jobs to get what they want. Recent research by Robert Half found that 30% of workers plan to look for a new role to improve their chances of advancement.

Businesses are responding to this shift in employee expectations in various ways. One way is revamping their job architecture. That involves cutting loose from the rigid hierarchies and defined roles that may have served you well in the past but are no longer suited to today’s workplace.

Why is this important now? Updating your job architecture will help you:

  • Attract and retain top talent — Internal mobility is vital in the modern workplace. Employees want a clear roadmap to progress and the ability to grow their careers through different projects and positions. So, a business that provides growth opportunities tailored to workers’ strengths and skill sets will stay ahead of the pack in today’s talent race.
  • Stay lean and competitive — Organizations can get cluttered over time, like our cubicles. Reviewing and revamping your job architecture will allow you to streamline your organization. It will also help you create a global skills inventory, so you have a thorough understanding of your current capabilities and future requirements.

A flexible framework

Building a modern job architecture doesn’t mean waving goodbye to traditional features like pay grades and job titles. Think of these things as the foundations on which you build a framework that is:

  • Flexible, allowing employees to work and learn across the breadth of the organization
  • Development-focused, providing workers with career options to match their capabilities instead of pre-defined paths

3 tips for creating a modern job architecture

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to revamping your job architecture, but here are some general tips that apply across most industries.

1. Think laterally as well as vertically

With multiple pay grades and job titles in a defined vertical career path, a traditional job architecture can discourage mobility. Some employees may hold back on making lateral moves or switching teams, fearing that it will negatively impact their careers.

In response, forward-looking companies are adopting a more fluid approach, with fewer titles, pay grades and levels. Staff can be deployed around the organization on project-based opportunities. In the process, they receive broader learning, and lateral moves are regarded as progressions rather than career killers.

2. Create a dual-track approach to career progression

Imagine an employee who is knocking it out of the park when it comes to subject matter expertise, but they don’t want to manage people. They would have few options for growth within a conventional job framework, where management roles are linked with progression and higher salaries.

Create dual career paths that allow upward mobility without forcing people into supervisory roles. This allows specialized workers to keep doing what they love and are good at while still moving up through the pay grades.

See this post for tips on creating a leadership development program that works.

3. Match performance management to your new job architecture

With a revamped job architecture, you’ll need a performance management approach that recognizes and rewards employees for their skills and contributions, whether they’ve pursued a lateral or vertical career path or a management path versus a subject-matter-expertise one

Within this more flexible framework, it’s crucial to ensure that expectations and what constitutes great performance are clearly defined and communicated. Then, managers need to meet regularly with employees to ensure these goals are being met. Reward staff based on the impact of their contributions to the organization.

As workplaces and employee expectations change, companies that respond with a flexible approach to career progression will have the best chance of success. By providing alternative career paths backed by strong performance management, you can develop a robust and modern job architecture to remain competitive and retain talent in this evolving market.