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Why we created job grades?

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The university that I attended in the USA has an honor code. All students naturally pledge to follow the honor code, and if they violate it, in the worst case, they would be expelled. Due to the existence of the honor code, the MBA school which I attended felt like heaven, safe, and I never lost a thing. However, once I was out of the school, it was America don't forget, and I had my jacket stolen from a bench when I turned my back for a short moment.

When I started the company, I wanted the same kind of heaven-like atmosphere established at e-Jan. I believed people would control themselves and could make our business sound. I personally dislike rules, since rules make people obey without thinking, and that's what I hate the most. Early on, we ended up in an organization that was loose and sloppy, and from that kind of an environment, sound and precise business could not emerge.

Thus, I took another approach to create rules and had employees follow them. The rules were not that rigorous; one such as creating parameters for showing up at the office. It was amazing to realize quite a number of employees couldn't even show up to the office on time. As time went by, little rules accumulated. I've wished I could have reduced the number of rules, but could not, since I was afraid of going back to chaotic days.

Teleworking is another challenge. We can no longer see when they are working or not. Most of the little rules no longer function. So, we must conceptually get back to the fundamentals. As e-Jan members, once we agree to the principals like my old honor code, then we can start removing little rules. In one of the attempts of making this real, we created a system to have job grades applied to each employee. Job grades are a ranking of the employee's experience, skills, abilities, capabilities, etc.

We will clarify our expectations to each employee at each job grade. Base salaries will be calculated on employees' job grades. Job grades will be reassessed every year by the board members. Employees get higher grades if they perform well. This enables each employee to work more confidently, allowing them to work from anywhere too. As the size of the company keeps growing, we need to keep creating and applying new systems like job grades.

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