An insight on ‘Tower Watson Global Grading System’ by Mr Kevin Freitas & Mr Satheesh KV, Flipkart

Mr Satheesh KV and Mr Kevin Freitas addressing the students

T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal witnessed a guest lecture on 13th July 2013 by Mr Kevin Freitas, Head, Rewards and Organization Development, and Mr Satheesh KV, Senior Manager, Rewards and HR Technology, Flipkart. Students of 2012 – 2014 batch attended this lecture and the topic for this guest lecture was ‘Tower Watson Global Grading System’ – a systematic approach to job levelling which helps organizations manage the opportunities and challenges of reward, talent program design and delivery. Towers Watson is a leading global professional services company that helps organizations improve performance through effective people, risk and financial management.

The speakers first briefed the audience on the interpretation of Job Levelling. It is a systematic process of determining the relative ranking of jobs, as objectively as possible in an organization and establishing meaningful groups of jobs that reflect these differences in rankings. It is neither concerned with the individuals that occupy these positions nor is it concerned with the performance of the individuals who hold these positions. However it is in concern with the job, itself.

Job levelling provides a basis for describing job requirements and performance expectations at different levels of the organizations. It facilitates consistent links to external market surveys. It creates a common language for work, growth and development across an organization’s operations, creating job requirements based on noticeable differences. In this context, Just Noticeable Difference, commonly abbreviated as JND is the minimum difference in stimulation required for a change to be noticed. In the contrary, job levelling does not reflect individual performance, does not prescribe a new organization structure nor does it describe job content at a detailed level. Need for job levelling changes with organizational life cycle. A range of alternatives exist for Tower Watson Global Grading System. Input and applications may be consistent but the best job levelling approach will vary based on business and cultural needs. Job levelling helps align jobs with other HR processes and systems.

Mr Kevin Freitas, Head, Rewards and Organization Development, Flipkart

The speakers also threw light on career pathing and planning. Also known as Career Map, it combines a powerful customizable framework with a tested process for consistently defining and organizing jobs across a company. People are slotted into entry, intermediate, career specific, specialist, master and expert roles. Progression and promotion was clearly distinguished. A promotion is one when the title or job specification is well above JND, whereas progression retains the same job title but includes moving up the salary scale. Topics like Succession Management which involves individual development plans and Workforce Analytics and Planning were also covered.

This Global Grading System is a job levelling tool for determining internal job levels based on an analysis of universally applicable factors proven to recognize differences in job size. It accommodates organizations of all sizes, and uses an organization’s size, complexity and geographic breadth to assess the number of levels in its grading framework. It includes a three step methodology – ceiling, banding and grading. Ceiling, also known as scoping refers to the turnover and the total number of employees. Banding places jobs in the framework based on how they contribute to your organization, reflecting a dual career path. The grading step assesses jobs against standard factors. This grading system has several advantages. It is easy to understand, has a common language for all roles, has a consistent approach with limited bureaucracy, has been assessed against equal value and establishes a link to Tower Watson market databases. It recognizes dual career paths, provides a role for liner managers and dependency on consultants is limited. This methodology is spread over 25 floors and accommodates the biggest organizations in the world.

The guest lecture was concluded by the speakers explaining how Flipkart shares its data with Tower Watson Global Grading System and how it provides Flipkart with its grades and payments viz a viz industry comparison payments at no cost. Comparison data with specific companies can be gained through request on a custom price. Over a period of time, role and payment determination is done by the help of heuristics. Thus, the guest lecture ended successfully with students gaining a rich knowledge on the Tower Watson Global Grading System. The following day, 14th July 2013, the speakers interacted with the newly joined students of 2013 – 2015 batch as well, and the topic of discussion was – Flipkart’s growth story.


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