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Organizations having trouble holding onto their top performing personnel might find it worthwhile to try an HR principle that bears some resemblance to IT architecture initiatives.

According to David Foote, chief analyst for IT workforce research firm Foote Partners,  many IT professional services and business consulting companies have been using “people architecture” for year as a way to prevent highly productive employees from leaving the company.

In a recent interview with online technology publication Computerworld.com, Foote described people architecture as a workplace model wherein technology professionals take on broad horizontal roles instead of siloed positions and “disconnected jobs.”

With this model, standards “are defined and aligned within each role” covering issues such as proficiency in the technical, business and soft skills needed to get promoted along a chosen career path, says Foote.

People architecture is similar in principle to IT architecture initiatives in that it makes use of road maps, phase-gate blueprints and performance metrics. The difference is, it applies these elements to human capital management issues such as: job definition; skills acquisition; compensation; professional development; and work/life balance.

For employers, people architecture can help boost individual and team performance and provide more predictability and consistency in the availability of human capital.

For IT professional, people architecture can result in a better defined career path, more feedback on how they fit into the organization and its goals and less confusion about job options.

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