The future of the workplace: death of the job description

We are in a fast moving world in which major changes to the workplace over the next few years are envisaged.  In a series of articles, we will be looking at these key changes and what they might mean to us in HR.  So far we have covered, resourcing and then recruitment, now we are looking at the ‘death of the job description’.

What are the predicted changes?

  • It is anticipated that job descriptions as we know them will be a thing of the past, as employees strive for independence in their working lives & a degree of diversification in their daily jobs/tasks;
  • There will be much more autonomy in roles;
  • An individual’s role will relate to their skills & expertise;
  • The ‘what’ needs to be achieved comes from Key Performance Areas (KPAs) and Key responsibility Areas (KRAs);
  • An element of ‘person specification’ will be required as the ‘how’ the job is done remains critical. This element will continue to be reflective of the company’s values & behaviours as well as the expectations of the individuals in the organisation;
  • The process will be to match employee strengths to company needs & base the role on what the individuals do best;
  • Titles can then be more descriptive such as Chief Happiness Officer, Head of Making Things Happen, Chief Opportunity Finder, Chief Experience Officer, Chief Hustler etc.

What does this mean for HR?

  • No longer will creativity be stifled, duties will be less limiting and we will be better placed to use all an employees’ skills, not just those covered by a job description;
  • In the early stages, HR will need to help the company to see beyond the immediate ‘role’ to see how the individuals skills & experience can benefit the wider organisation, including their demonstration of the company’s values & behaviours;
  • Intuitive electronic systems capturing the entire range of the individuals skills & experience will help the agility of the workforce in responding quickly to emerging business needs;
  • HR will need to support managers to develop the deliverables (the ‘Key Result Areas’) as the individual’s performance will be evaluated against these, as well as the ‘how’ they do the job. So, HR will need to work with managers to establish how performance is measured;
  • HR will need to encourage a more flexible approach to organisational responsibilities as people work across ‘boundaries’ and ‘boundaries/functions’ no longer exist. There will be an increase in project working & matrix management;
  • The knock on effects on performance evaluation, benefits tailoring etc. will need to be considered;
  • HR will use real time data to demonstrate how removing limits keeps employees and management happy & productive.


Food for thought! In the next blog, we will look at how predicted changes will impact on our approach to leadership.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s