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Silos are for Sissies: “Job Blending” and the Work Trend your ‘experienced’ leaders hopes doesn’t catch on

Silos are for Sissies: “Job Blending” and the Work Trend your ‘experienced’ leaders hopes doesn’t catch on

How many of you have looked at a job description in the last 6 months? Hmmm… may not want to answer that if your boss is around

What are the job titles you see? Operations Analyst. HR Generalist. Marketing Coordinator. Merchandise Planner. Civil Engineer. Nurse Anesthetist. Each one has a unique job description which can include a list of job requirements, strengths, needs, KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities) that are required to get the job done.

What DON’T the job titles tell you?

If I were to ask you to think back to a previous position – what have you done before that you wish you could do now – what tasks or goals might you say? Perhaps you enjoyed working with the customer and would like to do more of it. Or dig into the numbers and be the first one with the answers? Or simply not sitting in so many meetings? How can you do those things you enjoyed now… and would you appreciate your current job more because of it? Chances are you would.

This is called Talent EngagementGoing beyond the job description. 

Anyone can do it. I once was in operations when I learned I loved to teach (my job at the time had NOTHING to do with teaching, and very little directly involving developing others). I worked with my manager to find something he needed for his team – and found he wanted leadership development training. I created it, delivered it, got results – and became more engaged in the parts of my job I hadn’t been before.

So what is job blending?

Job blending is going between the job descriptions – NOT letting a title limit you to what you can contribute to your organization. Adding marketing to an HR job. Adding Operations to an IT job. Adding Sales to an Engineering job – atypical partners in a typical job.

The larger an organization is, in general, the more focused a title becomes, the more specific the job functions. A person that holds an accounting role for a 20,000-person company will have a very specific task list. He or she will be responsible for certain accounts, due dates, and checklists.

What if you had a little more freedom?

Ok… To be clear, I’m still saying you MUST get your job done. (It’s the #2 rule on my leadership rules). I’m saying BLEND your job. You are an accountant with an eye for organization. Why can’t you also hold a role with the operations team when they bring on a new project? You’re an IT manager but also have an eye for fashion? Blend your job so that you’re part of a contributing team on set up displays for branding in the stores.

Companies are already doing this. Small and mid-size companies can thrive because of job blending – people wearing many hats (sometimes because they want to – and sometimes not!). However, after a time, job blending gives way to structure and order. It doesn’t have to be that way – you can still have the structure and “blend” the order of your work.

Any benefits? Yes. The more you blend – the more you’re cross-pollinating a siloed workforce (on purpose or not). You’re creating diversity in ways you’ve never tried – and oh, by the way – by letting people do more of what they want – you’re going to increase Engagement and Productivity (if, of course, any of those things interest you). Also, the more you reach out with an array of projects- the more skills you develop, the more respect you’ll gain in the workplace, and when asking for that next big raise you’ll have more persuasive power. J

Google “job blending” and you’ll find very little. Job blending is scary for most “experienced” managers – those that are comfortable with status quo, do not like to think out of the box, like control and having expectations.

In the next month – I challenge you. Can you find a way to “job blend” in your workplace? What about the people on your team – have you asked them what they’d like to do – to give more to the team, and the company – but you’ve never asked?

Job Blending works. Join the trend that is out of the box – but within your reach.

#DisruptHR – What do dogs, kids & employees have in common that can help you become a better leader in 5 minutes? Find out.

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