30/04/2021 - 17:25

A practical first step in HR strategy – a classification system

30/04/2021 - 17:25


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Are you experiencing turnover, which appears separate to Covid-19 related issues?

Are you noticing your team do not appear to clearly understand their role and responsibilities?

Are your team members saying they would like more training and development to perform their role?

A number of companies shared these concerns with us adding that they were worried that they may lose key staff as the WA labour market starts to tighten up.

We worked separately with two of our clients to address these concerns, developing a Classification System as one of the foundations of their HR strategy.

Why a Classification System?

We recognised that these (and most) organisations need to group employees of similar skills, responsibilities, or experience levels and to provide clarity of position requirements including essential qualifications and experience. We also wanted to develop a tool that enabled managers and supervisors to have clear conversations with their staff on where they are now, what is required to progress and identify any training and development needs.

The classification system can be utilised to benchmark salaries, minimum conditions of employment, and guide billing rates for contractors. Having an employee classification system in place drives equitable and consistent compensation and ensures that senior roles can easily set their expectations and requirements when it comes to capabilities and performance. Additionally, it allows the organisation to build a succession plan for their senior and executive level roles.

One of the key aspects the classification delivers on is providing employees with a clear career path, defining what is expected of them at each classification level and outlining the different functional areas they can progress to.

How does it work?

The classification system starts at level one and works its way through several different stages of career development, from trainees, all the way through to senior management and executive level roles. By looking at the classification system, employees can see not only what technical skills are required to advance across their function, but also the behavioural competencies that run alongside it.

A vital part of productivity and performance is clarity. Without this, employees can be left feeling stressed, confused, and disengaged.  However, role clarity is not just limited to the employee’s individual role, it also consists of understanding the roles of their workmates. 

The classification system breaks down each individual role within the company and where it sits in the bigger picture. By clearly describing each classification level with the required competencies and responsibilities, it provides employees with clarity on what they are expected to do, removing any ambiguity, leading to higher levels of performance.

The clear and structured break down of roles the classification system provides acts as the foundations of the performance appraisal process. When performance appraisal time comes around, employees and their managers can refer back to the classification system to not only compare the expectations of the organisation against the job, but also provides guidance when it comes to setting long term career goals for the employee.

Each classification level is determined by the requirements of the organisation, not by the individual who currently sits within the role. When assessing an employee against the applicable classification level, managers can identify any training and development gaps. Once the training gaps are identified, targeted training and development programs can be implemented.

What benefits have our clients noticed?

Since implementing the classification system, we have seen several benefits.

  1. Employees have become more engaged in their roles and cross departmental collaboration has increased.
  2. Employee morale has increased due to the clarity the classification system has brough them, presenting numerous pathways they can choose to develop their careers.
  3. Succession planning has become easy with leadership teams now readily able to identify where the gaps are.

With organisational needs more defined than ever, employees need to possess a detailed level of career knowledge to allow them to make informed decisions when deciding which direction to take their career, and as an employer, you hope they view your organisation as their career, and not just a steppingstone to get there.

So, for employers, if they are able to develop career pathways within their organisation and keep employees moving forward and working toward the next step, they will likely end up with loyal team members who are just as invested in the success of the organisation as they are in their own career.

And for employees the classification system allows them to drive their own professional development. An employee looking to advance their career can look at the classification system to identify what would be expected of them at the next level in terms of competencies, behaviours and any required licences and qualifications. By having access to this information, employees can take a proactive approach to their own training and development.


WCA People & Culture Solutions has extensive experience in HR Strategy and implementing Classification Systems.


For a free consultation contact WCA on 08 9383 3293 or admin@wcasolutions.com




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