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Published on: Reward

Create Clarity and Consistency by Implementing a Job Levelling Framework

As the old saying reminds us, you can’t compare apples to oranges.

The same applies within many organisations. Especially ones who have diverse operations – various sectors, multinational branches, regional differences, or involvement in different sectors.

Regardless of the company, the same question keeps arising for HR leaders. How can we create a systematic way to categorise the value of work completed throughout the business?

After all, every individual job within an organisation is different. Each requires different skills and behaviours to complete well, and each will have a different impact on the overall business outcomes.

So, how can you compare their value?

A job levelling framework may be the answer. Let’s explore what it is, why it could be of benefit to your organisation, and how it can be effectively implemented.

What is Job Levelling?

Job levelling is a systematic method of assigning value to the individual positions, or “jobs”, within an organisation. HR departments and organisation leaders can use job levelling, also known as job level classification, job evaluation or job grading, to create definitions for each role within the organisation and define the organisation’s structure.

Within a job levelling framework, each position has a clear description and details how it fits into the wider organisation. Pay, levels of responsibility and expectations for each level are standardised, for example, junior, middle, senior and executive. 

While the systematic system applies to each role within a business, some variations may still exist across departments to allow greater sizing for higher qualifications or technical knowledge.

How Does Job Levelling Help Your Organisation?

Job levelling has many benefits for organisations of all sizes. Poorly defined job descriptions and pay structures can confuse employees about their roles. It can muddy the waters on how they are rewarded and lead to increased requests for clarification or pay increases.

On the other hand, a clear job framework structure gives you:


Once job levelling has been carried out, each job is clearly defined. This ensures consistency across job descriptions and career pathways for both external and internal opportunities. By having consistency, it improves communication and provides a greater understanding of career pathway decisions for employees and managers alike 

Improved retention 

Clear career pathways through the organisation make it easy for your employees to visualise their promotion or career change opportunities and how it might affect them financially. A clear career structure can help you to retain employees rather than having them look elsewhere for progression.

Improved recruitment 

The job descriptions and pay scales that will be created by your job levelling help you to develop clear job adverts. This allows applicants to know what they are applying for and reduces the likelihood of getting irrelevant candidates. This prevents both recruiters and applicants from wasting time.

Improved performance reviews 

By having defined job criteria, you have a base against which you can assess an employee’s performance. By setting clear expectations of what their performance should be, it gives a way to commend good work and modify bad behaviours.

Easier administration 

As we already mentioned, consistency across levels makes it easier to determine pay structures and run recruitment. The added bonus is that it reduces the administration burden for managers and your HR team.

Developing Your Own Job Levelling Framework

So, we know that a job evaluation framework can be really beneficial to an organisation, but how can you effectively implement one? 

Here is a step by step process to follow:

  1. Make sure you have the right team in place: If you have never undertaken a job levelling exercise at your organisation before then it can be a big task, particularly if you have a large organisation with many functional areas. You will need input from a number of different sources to create a viable framework. You will obviously need members of your HR team, but I would also recommend involving key managers and senior executives.
  2. Collate your information: Most businesses will have some form of job architecture in place already. So, your starting point will be the information you currently have about each position and how they fit together within the larger organisational structure. If you don’t already have an informal framework, then utilise things like job descriptions or any relevant information used within existing departments.
  3. Assess your whole organisation: Before getting into specifics, you need to look at your organisation as a whole. This includes determining the company’s structure and how many levels you have within that structure. The number of levels will likely depend on how big your organisation is, how many layers of team leaders and management you have and how varied each team is.
  4. Assess each role: Once you have the structure in place, you can begin to consider where each role fits within that structure. Using the position descriptions and updated information from team leaders or managers, you can place each job at its appropriate level within its department and group jobs across departments at similar levels. You can do this either on a role-by-role basis, or as a ‘slotting’ exercise to place roles into a comparative hierarchy. This may make individual evaluation more straightforward. In all cases, a calibration exercise across functional areas is essential.
  5. Ask for feedback: The process of creating a job levelling framework is a good opportunity to get buy-in from your employees about the new levels. Ask for feedback about whether they feel the job description fully explains what they do, and the appropriate level for it. While employees may disagree with your decisions, it can help you assess how accurate your framework is.
  6. Create your new framework: The final stage is to create all of the paperwork and process documents to accompany your new framework. This will include updated job descriptions and career progression information for employees, team leaders and managers.

Need Expert Help with Restructuring Your Job Frameworks?

Making big decisions within your organisation and setting up new structures can be daunting no matter the size of your business or the experience of your HR team.

If you would like some support in developing your own job levelling framework, I can assist you. With more than 20 years of experience in HR in various roles and across organisations of all sizes, I can help bring clarity to your decisions and processes.

Let’s start with a free no-obligation chat. Book a time to speak with me now.

For more information, please take a look at our downloadable HR guide, How to Develop a Total Reward Strategy.