Can’t Fill Jobs? Deconstruct Them | MIT Sloan Management Review

Workforce Planning

Many firms are enhancing aspects of their employee value proposition (EVP), such as flexible work, wellbeing, and compensation, to attract and retain talent in a competitive market. And while a compelling and differentiated EVP is an essential component of a talent strategy, another viable lever for addressing talent challenges is rethinking how work gets organized. In this article, Ravin Jesuthasan and John Boudreau share ideas from their forthcoming book—Work Without Jobs (due out on March 29, 2022)—on how deconstructing jobs into tasks — and identifying underlying skills/capabilities—enables firms to overcome the constraints of fixed traditional jobs. Using this approach, “organizations now think beyond jobs and jobholders, and talent sourcing moves beyond matching the “right” candidate to a job. The correct question is not “Is this worker fully qualified for this job?” but “What tasks are bundled together into this job, which workers are qualified to perform which of those tasks, and how could the tasks be unbundled and reconstructed?” Although jobs won’t completely go away, deconstructing work from the job level to the task level presents firms with greater flexibility in accomplishing those tasks through various work options (e.g., technology, consultants, part-time work, etc.). Since many talent practices—such as workforce planning—have traditionally been organized around jobs, this deconstructive approach will require firms to rethink the future delivery of those practices.

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