One of the goals in developing the ISD organization was to create opportunities for movement within the organization. We tried not to develop the traditional organizational structure, where division of labor is based on job function. Instead, our goal was to create an organization that had loose boundaries between job functions. We wanted to establish career paths that enabled our employees to grow into new job functions, if they wished, without having to leave the organization.
To aid in our goal of retaining employees, we developed a career path diagram to show people their paths for advancement. A career path diagram (Figure 8-1) shows how we created career advancement within a particular job such as systems administrator. The systems administrator can advance from entry-level to senior-level position. Our objective here was to enable our technical staff to stay within a particular job function and still be able to advance. The old school of thought for job advancement was to move into management positions in order to move up in pay scale. Instead, with technical resource in demand in the marketplace , we needed to create a career path within a job function that would allow us to retain employees that did not want a management career. Creating multiple levels allowed us to increase the pay scale without mandating a career movement into management.
We also have career paths for individuals who are seeking a change in their responsibilities in the technical field. In the ISD organization, employees have the opportunity of switching job functions if they desire . For example, there is a career path from an Oracle database administrator (DBA) to a systems administrator (SA). The boundaries of each job have tasks assigned to them that cross into the traditional role that these jobs once had. For example, the systems administrators need experience on Oracle databases in order to carry out responsibilities such as monitoring, shutdowns, testing, and scripting. In the past, when database problems occurred, such as startup failures, the DBA would be called immediately. With the responsibilities for some database tasks now within the SA job function, the SA gains knowledge of Oracle database administration functions that could enable them to seek a position as a DBA if they wish. It also enables cross-training of the ISD teams .
The help desk was another area in which we took a nontraditional approach. Instead of creating a tier I type help desk job position with the main responsibility of call answering and forwarding, we added the help desk responsibility to that of the Oracle systems administrator job function. We envisioned that the Oracle systems administrators would rotate part-time duty on the help desk, four to eight hours a week. We did this for several reasons.
We viewed the help desk area as an area of high turnover. Most help desk candidates are recent college graduates looking for experience that allows them to advance into another position that better matches their career goals. Not too many college graduates want to become a help desk analyst. By adding the job responsibilities of a typical help desk role into the Oracle systems administrator (OSA) job responsibilities, we are attempting to reduce the turnover rate by providing a more challenging position with potential to advance into other technical areas. Our goal is to keep these people in the organization. Any time we have to retrain new employees is not only expensive, but, more importantly, it usually leads to reduced customer satisfaction during the initial months of training.
Customer satisfaction was an important reason for adding the help desk responsibilities to the OSAs. We wanted our help desk to be more than a call response center. Our goal is to answer as many customers' questions on the first call. This means the help desk needs to be experienced in tier I and tier II type questions. One way to get this experience is to perform the tasks and responsibilities that provide them with the necessary experience. Having help desk personnel (Oracle systems administrators) answer phones four to eight hours a week, gives them the majority of their work week to get hands-on experience. An associated goal was to get the help desk personnel out with the customer, to meet them face-to-face and see the real problems firsthand.
Finally, many of the tasks assigned to the Oracle systems administrator could be performed during slow periods while answering help desk phones. This is especially true during the second and third shift when the call volume is reduced. We wanted to try and keep the help desk personnel productive when call volumes were low.
As part of the ISD organization, we have a career document package for each employee. The package contains the career path diagram, discussed earlier in this section, and job descriptions for each position offered within the organization. This not only outlines the expectations of jobs held by employees, but also shows the options available to the employee.
Each job description lists the qualifications based on education, work experience, and necessary job skills. It outlines the detailed responsibilities for each job. The responsibilities can be mapped back to the work packages created in the service model. Finally, the job description sets in place the training and development goals of the position. Detailed job descriptions are developed for each level of a job function: junior, intermediate, and senior.
Job descriptions are based on the service work packages associated with the service model. Nine job functions (positions) were created at Xerox Corporation to support the service model in place. Listed below are the nine generic job positions. Many of the jobs have the junior, intermediate, and senior levels associated with them.
Here is a list of the positions available within the ISD organization:
Administrative Assistant (AA)
Operations Support Clerk (OSC)
Database Administrator (DBA)
Oracle System Administrator (OSA)
System Administrator (SA)
Network Specialist (NS)
Customer Support Manager (CS Mgr)
Operations Manager (Ops Mgr)
Detailed job descriptions for each of these positions can be found in Appendix A.