How Using The Force Of Job Connectivity Can Help Your Team Work Better
“Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”
When it comes to working in Hong Kong, the employment market is our galaxy, and we, hopefully, are the stars within it. For the first time, we can start to visualize the Force that binds our companies together, that helps hold our relationships with colleagues, teams and departments. We can also begin to understand potential individual pathways for navigating companies, and which directions are possibly the most open and closed for us to take.
The Force graph below represents the top career networks that exist between job functions in the entire Hong Kong Job Market. The size of the arrow illustrates the frequency of movements.
Hong Kong Career Network Force Diagram (Source: Richard Hanson)
There are a number of interesting observations to be made from studying this data;
1. Marketers are Masters of the Universe
OK, so I’m pushing the limits of space talk, but the fact is that the marketing function is the “Cluster Centroid”. This means that marketing is the main hub for connections between all the other functions.
Marketing Managers act as a network hub for Account Managers, Product Managers, Merchandising and Admin roles.
Guess Why? The marketing function often acts as a bridge between other functions. The skill set required in this role is a combination of technical knowledge to understand the value proposition of products services, as well as having commercial acumen to then directly impact sales. Through this need to understand the work of other departments, the marketing function places itself at the heart of the galaxy.
2. Blue Sky Thinking
At first glance it appears that the functions of Graphic Designer and Creative Director are a little lonely. Almost as if they’ve been cast out, away from the rest of the network. However, might this be by design?
Creative roles have fewer connections with other functions.
Guess Why? The most creative thinkers often need their own space. Designers often have their own workflows and processes, which may not fit easily with other functions. It would be easy to conclude that the creative personality of designers and creative directors leaves them isolated, but for practical business reasons it could be the best way to work.
3. “Business Analyst” – more “Analyst” than “Business”
Rather than being the wide-reaching role that “Business Analyst” might imply, it turns out that this function is far more disconnected from other functions. The role is the natural progression for computer engineers and systems analysts, but has no connections with other functions.
Business Analyst roles seem to be an end point, having little connection with other functions.
Guess Why? After many years of developing IT skills, individuals have technical domain knowledge, but may not have managed to develop other key commercial skills such as forecasting and negotiation. This means that although they can take a broader role within the IT department, they have little chance of impacting the business as a whole.
Taking things a step further, if we overlay the skillsets which are common to each function, then not only do we have the visualization of the start and end points, but also a roadmap of how to get there.
For example, we can go back to the example of a Business Analyst and dig deeper into the reasons why that the function might possibly be disconnected from other roles. Comparing the role of business analyst against other broad roles such as “Product Manager” makes interesting reading. The below chart shows the top 30 skills of Product Managers in Hong Kong. If we compare the percentage occurrence of these skills in the profiles of Product Managers vs. Business Analysts vs. Marketing Managers, we can see that Business Analysts are far less likely to have acquired skills such as branding, budgeting, negotiation, and business development.
Top 30 product manager skills
Although these observations about the overall connectivity between job functions in Hong Kong is interesting, things get really exciting if we think about looking at these types of networks and connections within specific companies.
Imagine the types of questions that could be asked.
Senior Management and Human Resources could ask;
Which parts of the company connect with each other most?
Which parts of the company need to interact more?
Which functions have sufficient options for new career paths?
Employees could ask;
What is my likely next step within the organization?
Which teams and/or departments should I be building relationships with?
Job Seekers could ask;
What is my likely career path within this organization?
Do I really have a chance to end up in the role that I want?
The Force Graph by itself is a great way to show you where you are. Combine it with a skills analysis, and you have the knowledge you need to get to wherever you want in your organization.
To feel the force in the Hong Kong employment market, or to analyze specific company force diagrams, please use this data tool.