I wish I could find a lovely place to send job descriptions to die.

You know what I want instead? Job clouds.

Doesn't that sound lovely?

A job cloud is a lovely, puffy arrangement of projects and functions that need to be completed in order for a company to be successful. Job clouds can overlap across functional areas as the needs of the company change and the people in each cloud can change as their experience and education increase.

So what happens when a new client or project comes on the scene? GO TO THE CLOUD...Ah yes, take a look at all the employees whose availability, personality and current experience makes them a good candidate to successfully engage and offer them the opportunity to participate in something new. GADZOOKS! They might LEARN SOMETHING! You might learn something from them! That's so crazy.

I know one of my fantastic left-brained friends would want to organize the cloud into tidy project lists and start assigning agendas, building committees and the like, but let's not over-document the thing. The beauty and the success is in the movement and ever-changing nature of the cloud. I envision implementation to involve something more like a web-based database where employees update their own profile with new skills. Failure to do so means you're not really interested in contributing in new ways, so maybe you could be encouraged to go to a less interesting company. Managers could update project lists and define necessary education and/or experience for a successful outcome. Employees could apply for projects as they become available and/or managers could proactively seek out talent. Corporate recruiting would focus on strategically identifying gaps between existing talent and upcoming project needs, then bring in new talent or devise training/professional development programs to fill the needs.

That IT guy who barely talks might have an amazing eye for color and/or create ridiculously fresh marketing campaigns. Your recruiter might love numbers and just want to do a little finance sometimes. In the end, you get consistently challenged employees who view their role as making the company successful by contributing in new ways, instead of the "that's not in my job description" mentality. And maybe it'd be a
way of re-labeling some of those so-called bad hires. Maybe the person wasn't a bad hire, maybe they should be contributing in a different way that originally anticipated. These personnel adjustments wouldn't be as hard to absorb if a variety of projects were regularly available for assignment.

I know it would take a unique company to be able to transition to this effectively, but I'm a dreamer. Head in the clouds kind of girl here. Still, as people redefine their expectations of the workplace, I think it's the future.

Views: 87

Comment by Gerry Crispin on November 12, 2010 at 11:51am
Nice imagery. Especially helpful with firms where a majority of employees work on projects. Consulting firms, construction firms, etc. Would you require/allow folks to limit their projects to ensure they don't do too little or too much or would you simply compensate on the value of the project and its time/resource load? If you did allow a 'job' to be some minimum project value, someone could consciously compete for fewer project,s take a pay cut but still keep working and maximize their time on family friendly issues like raising kids for a period of time. Dreams have a way of becoming reality. Somewhere it probably already is.
Comment by Jay Perreault {DCTechRecruiter} on November 12, 2010 at 12:56pm

So possibly employees could cross train while their head is in the clouds? I’m just kidding. I like the part of the self managing team concept. Say it isn’t so; employers could create a driven motivated internal talent pool cultivation kind of arrangement? Thanks for a nice break from Fantastic Friday!

Comment by Felipe Villasenor on November 12, 2010 at 1:25pm
You are right on target with your vision. This will happen and a few HR solution vendors are working to make this happen. However, this Gen Y vision can only be executed once Employers also have this same Gen Y vision. In the mean time, let's keep pushing this agenda with passion - it is the future, there is no doubt about it.
Comment by Jessica Nicholas on November 12, 2010 at 1:29pm
Gerry - Yes, I'd see it being like roles that are project-based (or tracking billable hours) already, but expanding that to jobs which are not traditionally project based. A utilization approach could be good way of maximizing output and reduce HR nightmares. EX: If you're hired as a full-time employee, you'd want project utilization around 40 hrs/wk. Employers could set ranges of acceptable utilization of associates (approaching 100%, of course). I think managers with advanced skills in particular areas should still manage projects and determine approximate hours/week and number of needed employees. Performance reviews would be after each project, creating regular and on-going feedback rather than the once-a-year tornado, which is usually inaccurate and poorly executed, IMHO.

Like you suggested, I think this would naturally blend work/non-work because utilization can adapt to life changes or absorb short-term adjustments. And the reward structure is limitless! Compensation or benefits rewards could be granted for employee with the highest annual utilization rate, revenue-generating projects could offer commissions/bonuses, etc. This could also create opportunities for promotion - become a project lead, manage enough projects of a certain function and become a manager.

Ahhh...the possibilities are limitless when we think about where we want to be and then build a new road to get there, instead of mumbling about how this is we've always done it and keep trudging down the same miserable path.

Thanks for the nice note, Jay! Funny how if employers let go, their employees might lift them up. Happy Friday. :-)


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