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Why Is Position Management Critical in Today’s Government?

 By Sandra Rouse

Position management in today’s government is critical – and often ignored at a time when it should be inherent in an agency’s decision-making process.  Federal agencies are facing unprecedented challenges in resource management requiring nimble and flexible approaches.  The need to achieve an economical and effective position structure has never been more critical to the proper and responsible use of constrained financial and personnel resources.  Effective position management combined with its fellow program of classification is critical to the success of the agency and organization. The creation and establishment of a position and the organization in which it operates will drive a variety of human resources decisions including salary, benefits, qualifications, and performance and training requirements.

 What Is Position Management?

 Position management is the continuous and systematic process of assuring that organizations and positions are structured efficiently and economically. It is the series of steps that managers and supervisors go through to determine the type of organizational structure that is required to fulfill the function(s) assigned to a particular unit, how many positions are needed, and how positions should be designed.  It is the process used by management to identify and assign duties and responsibilities to a position or group of positions and the structuring of those positions to form an organization that provides for effective and economical accomplishment of work. Resulting position descriptions, the classification of each position, and the number of positions established constitute the overall organizational/position structure.

An effective position management program will assist the agency in achieving a “best balance” of skills and skill levels to achieve the agency’s goals and objectives:

Accomplishment of mission

  • Economy
  • Efficiency of operations
  • Attraction and retention of competent and productive personnel
  • Full and proper utilization of employee skills
  • Motivation and development of employees
  • Effective use of work processes, techniques, and equipment

Good position management –  

  • Results in carefully designed position structure which blends skills and assignments of employees with goal of successfully carrying out organization’s mission or program.
  • Reflects a logical balance between employees needed to carry out major functions of organization and those needed to provide adequate support; between professional employees and technicians; between fully trained employees and trainees; and between supervisors and subordinates.
  • Requires consideration of grade levels for positions involved. Grades should be commensurate with work performed to accomplish organization’s mission and should not exceed those grades needed to perform work of the unit.
  • Results in reasonable and supportable grade levels.
  • Empowers employees through delegation of increased responsibility and authority.

Custard Consulting LLC is proud to offer, with our training partner, Hemsley-Fraser, a 2-day workshop on position management.  See the course description and registration link below:

Managing the Maze – Position Management
This 2-day workshop will engage managers and HR staff in the effective deployment of best practices in organizational design and resource utilization that can be applied immediately. Federal agencies are facing unprecedented challenges in resource management requiring nimble and flexible approaches. Position management and organization design provide tools to assist management to achieve an economical and effective position structure. Leveraging current organizational challenges as well as OMB and GAO direction, this workshop uses applicable case studies to enhance learning. Focused on learning experiences that will foster knowledge of position management principles and concepts, this workshop will engage learners You’ll also receive the best-selling book, “Managing the Maze –Your Guide to Position Management” as a resource.

Dates: July 23 – 24, 2013
Location: Washington, DC
To register please click here.

Can’t  attend our workshop?  You can purchase our e-book on-line here.

Questions?  Please contact Susan Custard at 360-852-8126 or