Job renewal could be easier than you think


Years ago, I heard about a way to reinvent your job and improve job satisfaction without quitting to find a new one. The method is called “job novation.” Job novation is based on the legal term “novation.”

A novation is when someone is in a contractual agreement with another, and a third party is added to fulfill the contract requirements for one of the parties. In other words, you delegate your agreement criteria to someone else to fulfill. You, however, are still liable and responsible for seeing that the contract criteria are met.

A job novation is a way to restructure your current job so that it is more rewarding to you. I have seen job novations executed very easily within flat organizations such as some small nonprofits. It can be a bit more challenging to do in hierarchical, large corporations. Nonetheless, the method can work anywhere with a buy-in from your manager.

Since 2008, millions of people have lost jobs, while many who have jobs are disgruntled due to the increased workload. This setting makes for the perfect storm. Before you “storm out” and hand in your letter of resignation, let’s explore when you should consider a job novation and how you can renew your job and make it work for you.


You are bored in your current job  

In some cases, employers restructure jobs simply for the benefit of the employee. An employee who is unmotivated because of routine, repetitive work may be allowed to take on other tasks previously performed by other positions.

Some companies allow employees to have a position that balances a certain amount of time in a number of departments. For instance, a company may allow a worker to spend 30 hours a week in a human resources position and 10 hours participating on a diversity council or volunteer committee.


You need an accommodation 

Sometimes due to injuries, aging, or other life-changing events, employees require special physical accommodations.  Physical accommodations may include providing ergonomically correct computer stations and cushioned chairs for lumbar support. Employers are required by law to provide some support to employees within reason.

Organization restructuring 

Often times, organizational restructuring can provide may opportunities for professional growth. The primary benefits of restructuring include meeting employee employment opportunity requirements for reasonable accommodation, strategic alignment with company reorganization, and improved employee satisfaction. Companies can essentially redesign jobs to bring them up to par with the current work of the business.


Before you do… 

While a job novation may be the answer to your situation, there are pros and cons. Drawbacks include potential tension with other employees and time spent adjusting job descriptions. Some upset may occur if you do not have solid buy-in from affected employees.

Typically, job novations are initiated by employers when resources are limited and initiated by employees for the reasons mentioned above. A job novation is a great, cost-effective way to create and test drive a new job without quitting your current job.

Tammy McIntyre, M.Ed. is a workforce development consultant providing individuals and small businesses with career development services. She welcomes reader responses to