Nature of Work Reviews: A Case-Study


Bioss SA recently completed a Nature of Work Review (NoW) for one of our clients in the mining sector. The client brief was for Bioss SA to complete a diagnostic on one of their department’s structures to determine whether structural inefficiencies could be contributing to the department’s performance challenges.

What is a Nature of Work Review?

A Nature of Work Review is an organisational design methodology which utilises Levels of Work (LoW) as the underlying theory to help organisations create a requisite, optimal and efficient organisational structure. The Nature of Work Review methodology is well-proven, has been implemented in many organisations worldwide, and its’ successful implementation is associated with increased profits and growth, as well as in cost reduction.


Bioss SA implemented an online Nature of Work Review (NoW) process, which involved the following stages:

  1. Review and analysis of the department’s strategy
  2. Review and analysis of relevant organograms
  3. Analysis of their current role profiles.


We attained data on the following:

  • Capability spread through the department (all employees had previously completed the MCPA and hence we were able to source data on their current capability and future potential / mode)
  • Overview of job role complexity
  • Role complexity versus incumbent capability (i.e., Departmental Capability Balance Sheet)
  • Structural overview


Based on our analyses we suggested that the department’s performance could possibly be affected by both structural and people (capability) issues.

From a structural perspective:

We discovered ‘slight’ compression in the majority of the reporting lines. The implication is that the head of the department may have been struggling to set the context for his or her subordinates; and to provide a stable and understandable setting to allow the subordinates’ work to proceed. If the departmental head’s work is not significantly different from his or her subordinates, he or she cannot add significant value to the subordinates’ work environment, nor will there be the difference to justify the manager’s authorities consistent with a managerial relationship. This did not only effect the head of department but other reporting lines as well.

From a capability perspective:

We found that only 33% of the employees were likely to experience ‘flow’ in their roles, with the remaining 66% being either slightly overstretched or slightly underutilised. The likely consequence being that the majority of the employees may not have been sufficiently engaged, motivated and stimulated by their work leading to a drop in performance.


Bioss SA recommended the following:

  • Directly addressing the compression in the structure by reviewing the relevant job profiles in terms of their contribution and value add at different Levels of Work.
  • Reviewing and adjusting the complexity of the job roles which would create the opportunity to realign capability to role complexity. Employees who are not optimally in flow in the current structure, may find that clarifying role complexity (either reducing or increasing it) may provide the added benefit of recalibrating their flow experience – and enhancing engagement and productivity.
  • Reviewing and adjusting the complexity of the job roles will also assist in ensuring that those employees who are possibly not fully engaged or in ‘flow’ will be more likely to experience flow going forward i.e., where employees are overstretched we will look to reduce complexity, and where employees are underutilised we will look to enhance the complexity requirements of their roles.
  • Other ways to improve the department’s Capability Balance Sheet would be to look at job rotation, and/or reallocation.

Next Steps

Our client is currently redefining their Talent Management strategy and Bioss SA’s recommendations will inform both their talent management and assessment strategy going forward.

A further blog will highlight how our recommendations have been incorporated and influenced the department’s structure, people and performance.

For more information email