How to Get Ready to Build a Job Catalog

4 min readJul 14, 2021

Easy steps to get you started.

A job catalog gives you many advantages, be it gaining ability for strategic workforce planning, improving recruiting or speed in building a job architecture. But to be successful, some important building blocks should be in place.

Be aware of your project scope

Does your company want to optimize an existing job catalog or do you start completely from scratch? The size and complexity of the project will vary with your specific situation. This in turn will influence your time frame and the resources you need. Have an eye on defining a realistic deadline and consider possible external influences.

As a tip, the implementation of a customized Global Job Catalog usually takes somewhat between 4 months to a year. Depending on how complex and how urgent your project is, it might be worth considering to get external support. Of course, your company’s experience with job catalogs has an influence on this decision as well.

Bring in the right people

Having the right people on board of your project is crucial for success. You will require support from multiple levels and functions from within your organization. The easiest way is to start with a small but diverse working group, who can then reach out to senior executives, HR, and other subject matter experts. Successful working groups often involve experts from Compensation & Benefits, HR IT, Talent & Recruiting, Employee Relations, as well as Finance, Internal Communication and Legal. Job Subject Matter Experts are needed to provide feedback on the structure of the job catalog and the mapping of employees to the updated job architecture.

As soon as you start the actual development of your job catalogue you should also try to involve line leaders. They do not have to do the actual work, but it is important that they review drafts and deliverables and get the opportunity to give feedback. This will not only improve the job catalog itself, but it will also increase its acceptance within the company.

Count with reluctance to change

Speaking of increasing the acceptance within the workforce, it is important to be aware about your organization’s culture and openness to change. You might even want to consider applying change management methods right from the start. Some employees feel very strongly about their place in the organizational structure, their job titles, and the compensation connected with it. It is helpful to show them the long-term advantages and outline the benefits that it can bring to them personally rather than focusing the message on the advantages for the organization. One of the benefits you can highlight is that employees will have clearly defined career paths. As career paths will be more transparent, they will know exactly what is expected of them to climb the internal career ladder. There will also be greater opportunities for career development as job vacancies within the organization will become more visible to all. Moreover, it might be worth mentioning that the job catalog will be an enabler for a global comparison of jobs and equal pay.

The chances of a successful project increase, when it is not seen as a project that concerns only HR, but that there is also a high involvement from executive leadership. Therefore, make sure to get support of the executive team at an early stage of the project and make this support visible to the other employees as well.

Think global where possible, local where necessary

As you want your customized job catalog to reflect your organization worldwide, you should try to find global standards whenever possible. But cultural differences between geographies trump standardization. For example, the understanding of job titles or leveling criteria might vary between cultures and therefore require local adjustments.

A deviation from a standardized, global procedure might also be necessary based on legal requirements in individual countries. For example, in countries such as Germany (depending on the size of your company), it might be legally binding to also include the work council. Get advice from subject matter experts who are familiar with local regulations.

Readiness checklist

Drawing from our experience we have compiled a checklist which hopefully can give you a head start for the implementation of your job catalog project.

□ Gain clarity about the scope of your project

□ Assess the need for external support, depending on complexity or urgency

□ Include a realistic time frame and organizational resources in your plan

□ Form a small but diverse working group

□ Ensure support on the executive level

□ Check the need for applying change management methods

□ Distinguish the benefits you communicate to your workforce and to the executive level

□ Include line managers wherever possible and ask for feedback

□ Determine the need for localization

□ Work with subject matter experts

□ If applicable, approach the workers council

Considering all those points, you should be ready to go and start analyzing your jobs.