Creating a Job Architecture from Scratch: Megan Bickle
by Dani Johnson and Stacia Garr | October 11th, 2023
Megan Bickle is Head of Talent Management.
In Megan’s experience, roles can be viewed as a collection of skills. Viewing roles this way allows organizations to be more responsive to the evolving needs of the business in terms of the skills needed for development and hiring.
Megan believes that job architecture is essential to becoming a skills-based organization. Skills were a part of their overall integrated talent management strategy, infused throughout the organization. Capability models and job structures were built in tandem.
In this conversation, Megan shares her experience building a skills-based organization as the Global Talent Management and Organizational Development Leader at GE Digital.
Learn more about Megan Bickle
While Megan was at GE Digital, she was the Director of Employee Listening, Engagement and Culture and helped to evolve the organization forward. Megan’s role was integrated talent management; she owned job architecture.
She was the partner to HR, talent acquisition, learning and development, HR leadership, business leaders, etc. She connected the dots with the data, the story being told, and moving the company forward. Megan was the point of contact. So if someone wanted to add a new job or capability to the structure, it had to go through her.
To determine if a new role was necessary, she asked questions to gauge how the role would be unique compared to their current structure. To do this accurately, she also had to stay up-to-date on emerging roles, skills, and capabilities.
Why job architecture is important in skills-based organizations
Megan firmly believes that job structure is the lynchpin for a skills-based talent strategy. GE Digital created a job structure from scratch. They started by asking: What are the skills needed within a function?
- How were the roles different from a skills perspective?
- What was the difference between a specialist and a coordinator?
- Does one role require more education or work experience?
- If the roles consist of the same skills and proficiency level, are two jobs needed?
- If people are brought into the roles, how are they promoted?
Asking these questions helped them create the confines of a clear structure. Once they came up with the list of skills, they created a job structure for individual contributors and people leaders.
They categorized capabilities into four groups and determined four different proficiency levels of mastery, including behavioral definitions. Only then did they build out the leadership structures.
This led to content for job descriptions as well as for career conversations. When an employee asked a leader about what it would take to move up in a role, they were able to share the expected capabilities and breadth of the role to give them something to work toward.
How learning/development dovetails into talent practices
GE Digital implemented a technology platform they used for employees and managers to complete assessments and connected it to talent acquisition.
So if they wanted to hire a software engineer, they’d review the capabilities that mattered most as talent was being assessed and would flag those keywords. They also used their platform to map learning content to capabilities. They’d designate learning content to help an employee get from where they are to where they wanted to be.
Their accelerated research programs looked at what roles would be associated with different programs. Of those roles, what are the capability gaps? How can they adjust what’s offered in their programming to make sure people build the necessary capabilities to fill gaps?
They’d connect the dots between what they know about the talent and how it ties into hiring practices. They also tied it into attrition and whether or not they were losing team members with skills gaps or losing critical talent.
They connected it to learning development, accelerated leadership programs, career conversations, as well as lateral movement and promotions. They threaded capability language and data and insight throughout the entire organization and talent management practice.
How did their skills effort evolve over time? What strategy did they use for assessing employee skills? Listen in to learn more about how Megan and GE Digital built their job architecture from scratch. You’ll learn how to help employee’s bridge skills gaps and excel in their roles, continuing to develop their capabilities.
Resources & People Mentioned
- BOOK – Good to Great by Jim Collins
Connect with Megan Bickle
- Connect on LinkedIn
Want full access to the episode's transcript? Try our RTR membership with a 7-day trial. Listen to our top episodes, explore cutting-edge research, attend exclusive member-only events, and share with a top-notch cohort community of industry leaders and peers. Take it for a spin!