Inclusive jobdesign

Inclusive jobdesign translates as the entire process of differentiating company and working methods by isolating elementary tasks, channelling potential candidates from the target group, as well as coaching and supporting the employee, the department and the organisation.

The scope of inclusive jobdesign for companies is to deploy working staff more efficiently and, if possible, more beneficially without sacrificing production but opting instead for an increased return.

The last couple of years, job positions have become increasingly complex. Employers are benefited by letting the same employees execute as many tasks as possible, increasing flexibility and employability in the process. Employees benefit from this as well, asking for more responsibility, variation, contact with their peers and more challenging functions. This tendency made job positions more complex, raising the bar for higher educational demands. Higher functional and educational demands are accompanied by more expensive personnel and a difficult search for employees that meet these new standards. In certain industries we are now starting to witness a deficit of schooled personnel.

At the same time, there is a pool of potential employees that do not fully meet these high functional demands and are being left out. Employers do not benefit from employees who cannot keep up with the rest of the pack or from not finding this highly educated workforce. Production fails accordingly which influences the company’s profit and loss administration. By now, we know these ‘weaker’ profiles can keep up if they are given the opportunity of modified work. Work that, for the moment, is still a part of the complex job positions of the highly schooled personnel.

Inclusive jobdesign tries to outplay this by distinguishing between the more and the less complex tasks. To achieve this, job functions and processes are being held under a magnifying glass. Simple tasks are channelled into one or more functions and reincorporated into the working processes. Evidently, these internal processes should remain running smoothly, if possible even better than before.

Once this function has been created and the employee has been recruited, it is of the utmost importance to support them on a quality level during their probation or period of workplace learning. To guide the integration on the workplace, 3 levels have to be taken into account:

  • The employee
  • The direct supervisor and working environment
  • The organisation itself (creating an inclusive and learning environment)

A job and language coach will support this process. The coaching is adapted to the specific working situation and organisational needs. The coach focusses heavily on the transitional process on the workplace. A practical and appreciative approach is advised to guide the team towards an optimal cooperation, elevated quality of work and sustainable employment.

Once the employee is fully integrated, it is important to acknowledge and validate the obtained skills through workplace learning. In Flanders, there is an ongoing shift from educating through educational organisations to educating though workplace learning. Realistic and obtainable methods are being looked into, that fit the EVC-policy as well. Especially concerning these vulnerable workforces, there are still a lot of steps to be taken.

Thanks to the All Inclusive@work project we were given the opportunity to exchange experiences with Finland, who are currently further along the path of validating skills through workplace learning. As a result of this meeting we formulated a couple of recommendations for the Flemish government.