Are there such things as job descriptions or terms of reference in a sociocracy?

I am just learning about sociocratic organisations, but can’t really get my head around what the best practices are around job descriptions and salaries. In our current organisation, we post a job description that includes capabilities and responsibilities, and the employee signs a contract based on that document and the salary is aligned. The job description is periodically reviewed and revised, but more or less the employee has a role, and the salary is commenserate with that role and the responsibilities contained within. But it seems like in a sociocracy employees would be consenting to all sorts of different responsibilities and the lines between different people’s work could quickly become blurred and/or nullify the justification for paying people for different types of work… so someone paid more to take on more responsibility could consent to less and someone paid to take on less responsibility could take on more… to maintain fairness, the effective job description, and therefore the rationale for salary would be shifting all the time. Could someone explain how to deal with this (without paying everyone the same, which is nice but would be ineffective in our business)?

Yeah it’s complicated. Here’s some to read - let me know if you still have questions after. (Which is likely.)

Thanks @TedRau - that is an interesting article. For us, role-based salary would be very difficult to manage and a lot of work would have to go into the value of each role, wich could be small and only comprise a day’s work for example. I would also think that it would motivate people, qualified or not, to clamour for the higher-priced roles and breed more discontent if they don’t get that role since there is money on the line, as the article suggests.

Has anyone ever worked with classifying roles using a simple system such that when a person is hired and has a salary, it is specified that they will work on classification A-C roles. In practice, any employee could assume a nominal, say 20% of roles above their classification without having their salary reassessed, but above that there should be a review process. The advantage of this is that there would be an organic promotion process… ie if the circle members consistently consent to higher-level roles for an employee, it means they are working at that high level, which would require a salary review. This would solve the other problem that I see in a world with no supervisors- how employees get promoted.

I really like that!!!

Of course 20% is arbitrary but that’s ok.

I’d probably make it what they spend time with, so not # of roles but # of hours spent in roles.

Yes, right, number of hours is better. You are also right that 20% is arbitrary… another arbitrary way of thinking about is we say that employees could split their time between up to two salary grades, then half of half of their time, or 25% would trigger the review. We just want to make something that doesn’t require salary reviews and adjustments every month. I guess we could also say, as is a normal practice, that salaries can only be reviewed up to twice per year.

Yes, I continue to think that’s a really good idea; it keeps everything more continuous and reduces the burocracy while staying flexible Awesome!