PAM 690-8




1 April 1982

Guide to Position Management for Key Military and Civilian Personnel


Purpose of this pamphlet is to assist military and civilian managers and supervisors in the development and establishment of cost-effective position structures. This pamphlet is also intended to help the manager to better understand and utilize the skills and experience of civilian personnel specialists trained in the techniques of organization and position design and job engineering.

This guide can also be used in meeting reading requirements for students in service schools or in other training or orientation programs relating to civilian personnel management or supervision.

This pamphlet does not substitute for consultation with civilian personnel office staff members on personnel problems or serve as an authoritative source of instructions and requirements which are covered in the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) and Army and civilian personnel regulations. The fpm is published by the Office of Personnel Management.

This pamphlet should be used in a selective manner and should be supplemented by pertinent local or major command personnel information, by reports on the status of activity personnel programs, and by local evaluation of personnel management problems or achievements.

Interim changes to this pamphlet are not official unless they are authenticated by The Adjutant General. Users will destroy interim changes on their expiration dates unless sooner superseded or rescinded.


Chapter 1. Position Management in the Amy

Policy, Objective, and Process 1-1

Management Considerations 1-2

Chapter 2. Responsibility for Position Management

The Classifier's Role 2-1

The Position Management Officer's Role 2-2

The Manager's Role 2-3

Chapter 3. Position Management as a Fiscal Tool

Relationship to Compensation Management, High

Grade and Average Grade Controls 3-1

Cost Reduction and Productivity 3-2

Manpower and Organization Management 3-3

Employee Productivity and Personnel Cost 3-4

Position Management and Organization and Supervisory Structure 3-5

Options in Establishing Nonsupervisory Jobs 3-6

Chapter 4. Position Management as a Management Tool

Position Classification Changes 4-1

Reporting Changes 4-2

Putting Position Structure Improvements Into Effect 4-3

Chapter 5. Position Management in Support of Equal Employment Opportunity Goals

Affirmative Action Implications 5-1

Meeting Supervisory EEO Goals 5-1

Chapter 1


Policy, Objective, and Process.

a. The policy and objective of the Department of the Army is to design and establish civilian position structures that provide the proper balance of skills and skill levels necessary to support productive, economical work units to accomplish the assigned mission and [unction of the organization. The process used to accomplish this objective is position management.

b. Position management (PM) is a systematic series of actions taken by line management in reaching decisions regarding the identification and assignment of duties and responsibilities to a position or group of positions in support of a specific function or mission. The final results of this process are reflected in the position and grade structure shown on the TDA and in approved job descriptions covering the positions of the organization, together with their classification (titles, occupational series, and grade levels) as determined by Position Classification Specialists. The job descriptions, classification, and the number of positions established for each job constitute the position and grade structure.

c. PM is recognized throughout DOD as an integral function of line managers who are responsible for accomplishing the work and who have authority to approve the assignment of duties and responsibilities. PM is also an essential element in compensation management as it impacts on the budget process and in the development of manpower requirements.

    1. Management Considerations.

a. Meeting the objective outlined above is not a simple mechanical process. There are a variety of management and personnel considerations which must be taken into account. For example, while a low cost position structure is very important from the standpoint of economy, increased costs often result when recruiting for particular skills in a highly competitive labor market. Accurate job classification, however, is a statutory requirement and cannot be compromised. Therefore, the establishment of a competitive but more costly position structure cannot be accomplished simply by placing higher grade levels on existing jobs. Significant changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must take place to support higher grade levels. From a personnel management stand-point consideration must be given to providing an organization and work environment which will motivate people to perform to their highest capability. Jobs which require repetitious and monotonous performance of routine tasks do not enhance motivation or productivity. Such jobs tend to increase employee dissatisfaction and turnover. On the other hand, some turnover can never be avoided; there is after all, always a limit to the "top" grade in a particular occupation or organization. The challenge is to design jobs and create work environments which will minimize employee dissatisfaction. In the Department of Army as in private industry the problem is being dealt with by what is called job enhancement or job enlargement.

Informational Graphic

b. It is important for managers to recognize that Federal total compensation (salary and benefits including retirement, leave, educational opportunities, etc.) ordinarily fully supports recruitment efforts and minimizes losses of employees to private industry. Some losses as a result of promotion within the activity or installation, or even to other departments, should be expected. This is a natural result of individual development and progression to more responsible jobs. In those units where losses or turnover due to pro-motions are extremely high, managers, with the assistance of personnel specialists, may have to utilize other techniques to stabilize their work force. Well developed and executed incentive and training plans and redesigning jobs to provide a lower entry grade level are means whereby the manager can assure quality replacements and improved retention. A "quick fix" approach to curtailing turnover by establishing higher graded positions inevitably leads to internal and unnecessary competition and higher salary costs, and usually results in improper position classifications. Where recruitment and retention are on-going critical problems due to noncompetitive pay rates, the manager should work with the Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) in developing a request for advanced or special pay rates rather than distort the position and grade structure. Raising the grade levels of the position structure results in such real world problems as:

-pay inequity between comparable skill level jobs.

-escalated salary costs (grade creep).

-poor internal operations due to ineffective communication and distribution of work created by unnecessary supervisory levels.

-unwarranted organizational growth to accommodate higher graded specialists and managers.

-an unbalanced work force and skill levels as lower level positions are abolished and their duties absorbed into higher grade positions.

-resentment on the part of higher grade personnel who must do lower grade work.

c. In the final analysis, even after raising grade levels, turnover may be as high as ever or higher. Employees learn very quickly when they can play the "supply and demand" game with management; it is not uncommon for management to propose one or two upgradings in an attempt to retain a top performer. Accordingly, the manager must maintain some semblance of balance among the various considerations that are involved in establishing the most appropriate position and grade structure. Sound position management principles, if applied with good management judgment, can result in the establishment and maintenance of a productive, cost-effective position structure including properly described and classified jobs which:

-support recruitment

-provide a balanced mix of skills to accomplish the mission

-provide logical job ladders to support employee development and career progression

-motivate the work force to achieve

To Contents

Chapter 2


2-1. The Classifier's Role.

The position classification specialist or classifier is trained to aid the manager in the position management process. The manager must use the classifier to evaluate the grade impact of possible changes in jobs before the request for action is initiated. If this is not done, the manager is guessing and the expected change may or may not be achieved. In addition, the classifier is trained as an occupational analyst and personnel generalist to be able to identify position structure problems and provide staff advice to the manager for improvements. The position classifier is also trained to recognize those situations where the manager should seek advice and assistance from other personnel specialists in recruitment and placement, training and labor relations. Early involvement of the classifier in organization planning is therefore essential to the manager. Effective position management requires a coordinated effort by line and staff.

2-2. The Position Management Officer's Role.

a. Army regulations (AR 690-500, chap 501) require that a Commander with delegated authority for civilian personnel administration serve as the Position Management Officer (PMO) or delegate PMO responsibilities to a senior member of the staff. The PMO is critical to an effective position management program. The PMO is the final arbiter on position management or job structure issues when a line manager and classifier disagree. Under current Army policy, the PMO has no authority or role in the job evaluation and classification process. Position management issues developed during surveys, special studies, individual personnel actions, or whenever manpower or organization reviews are underway, are referred to and resolved by the PMO. Based on the facts and judgments presented, the PMO must decide which course of action is best for management. This may not be easy to do. Obtaining the answers to the following questions should aid decision making:

--What are the benefits of the staff recommendation in terms of dollar savings, or in terms of compliance with top management policies and directives, e.g., high grade or average grade management ?

--Will the staff recommendation adversely impact productivity in some way ?

--What concrete facts support this contention ? Can they be eliminated by other actions ?

--Are there other adverse impacts predicted ? Basis ? Reasonable ?

--If there are adverse impacts, are they outweighed by the benefits ?

--Could a major share of the benefits be realized and many of the ad-verse impacts be avoided, by approving part of the staff proposals ?

b. The PMO's decision should favor the line manager where adverse impact on the mission or productivity (beyond the savings projected) will clearly result if the staff recommendation is accepted. On the other hand the staff recommendation should be accepted if costs are held constant or reduced with little or no impact on productivity and other impacts are minor or temporary in nature. In many instances direct cost is not the only factor considered by the staff; improvements in personnel policy and practices also represent an investment in the human resources of the organization. Where benefits outweigh the disadvantages the staff recommendation should be implemented.

Informational Graphic

2-3. The Manager's Role

Under the policies and principles mentioned previously the manager must-

  1. Avoid organizational fragmentation and unnecessary supervisory layering.
  2. Not allow employees to spend significant amounts of time on work which is graded below their official grade level.
  3. Minimize dead-end jobs and establish a pattern of positions which will support career progression and upward mobility, and achieve affirmative action goals.
  4. Identify and drop marginal activities; avoid work load imbalance among subordinate units or positions and assure full position work load (100% of work hours devoted to essential functions).
  5. Broaden or combine job descriptions when cost-effective; or when needed to provide flexibility of assignment.
  6. Support use of supplemental part-time, temporary and intermittent personnel in order to reduce labor costs and conserve full-time spaces.
  7. Maintain a balanced proportion of senior level, journeyman, helper and supportive skills, and a reasonable proportion of trainees to meet estimated replacement needs.
  8. Clearly delineate work assignments and job-to-job relationships to avoid overlap and duplication.
  9. Ensure sound use of grade levels to attain a structure that will lower or at least stabilize rather than increase payroll costs and average grade.

Informational Graphic

2-4. Assessing Progress.

All levels of management are expected to judge their subordinate supervisors on how effectively they structure positions and utilize available position management options. Merit pay and related programs provide the appropriate means to assess performance.

a. The assessments apply both to military and civilian personnel who have significant responsibilities for managing civilian positions.

b. These assessments are an integral part of annual performance ratings, awards based on performance, and for Officer Efficiency Reports and Supervisory Enlisted Efficiency Reports.

To Contents

Chapter 3


3-1. Relationship to Compensation Management, High Grade and Average Grade Controls.

Position management and correct job classification are the only tools available to effectively manage employee compensation and implement austerity initiatives such as high grade and average grade control. Proper application of these management tools avoid:

a. Arbitrary and capricious actions which are contrary to classification law. The law requires that job classifications be established through a comparison of duties and responsibilities with published job evaluation standards. Accordingly the number of high grade positions cannot be reduced or the average grade and salary costs lowered, unless one or both of the following steps re taken:

(1) Duties and responsibilities of jobs are changed to scale down their value.

(2) The number of positions is changed.

b. An unbalanced position structure results when reductions are effected by attrition. Attrition rarely leaves a balanced work force to provide the different skills and grade levels of work required. Position management and accurate classification are the means whereby the manager can develop a position structure which will meet management's varied needs and requirements.

3-2. Cost Reduction and Productivity.

The essence of successful management in the Federal sector is to meet quantitative and qualitative goals with a minimum cost to the taxpayers. The public interest must be placed ahead of employee benefit or convenience, which although important, are secondary. The public and Congress wants performance not process. The Civil Service Reform Act* (* Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Public Law 95-454, 13 October 1978, Sections 405 and 501 (5 U.S.C. 4313 and 5402(b)(2)(B))) requires that cost efficiency and improvements in efficiency be taken into account in appraising performance in the Senior Executive Service and in determining eligibility for pay increases under the merit pay system. Army missions are typically labor intensive, and labor costs are a substantial part of the Army budget. For example, in the 0MA budget alone, 33 percent (est.) will go for civilian pay. Therefore, the reduction of labor costs can provide the opportunity for achieving cost efficiency and improvements in efficiency (and for establishing the basis for merit pay or SES bonus). Every level of management has the opportunity to reduce costs and to improve efficiency through better management of people and position structure.

Informational Graphic

3-3. Manpower and Organization Management.

a. A major objective of Army resource management is the cost-effective use of manpower spaces and funds. The optimum use of manpower resources involves position management, job classification, and, manpower and organization analysis.

b. The determination of organization structure and of unit manpower requirements are both functions of the resource management process which includes:

(1) Organization and manpower management surveys dealing with command structure and reorganizations or functional transfers and realignments.

(2) Organizational, manpower and work measurement studies or development of manpower standards.

(3) Manpower planning, programming and budgeting and related review of operations.

(4) Determination of the number of required spaces (positions), based on AR 570-4 (Manpower Management).

c. Managers are expected to make effective use of manpower and organizational studies. The manager should be able to examine basic manpower requirements and request appropriate adjustments to the position structure and TDA in order to effectively use authorized funds and spaces.

3-4. Employee Productivity and Personnel Cost.

a. There are no hard-and-fast rules by which managers can assure an effective and economical position structure. There are, however, a number of guidelines and options which can apply to both "white collar" (General Schedule) and "blue-collar" (Wage Grade) positions, and their use will help stabilize or reduce grade levels, obtain greater personnel utilization, enhance employee development and maximize use of manpower and funds.

b. The following Position Management Checklist has been prepared for use by managers and should result in more cost effective employee utilization and increased productivity.

(1) Identify activities/duties which are only "nice-to-have" or of marginal necessity, obtain clearance for elimination, and delete from position descriptions.

--When such activities are required by higher command, submit recommendations to reduce or eliminate.

--Identify work being accomplished for another organization as an informal service and determine whether this work load can be reduced or eliminated.

--Establish current work load priorities and whenever possible drop activities/duties which are less important.

(2) Review work load trends and ensure that a minimum number of permanent full-time positions are maintained.

--Use special employment authorities (e.g., part-time, intermittent, or temporary appointments) for peak workload periods, i.e., temporary, seasonal, irregular, or emergency work.

--Use temporary or intermittent appointments, employee details, or temporary promotions when workload increases on a predictable recurring or seasonal basis, such as year-end or quarterly reporting (accounting or sales activities).

(3) Consider other possibilities when workload increases are short-term or occasional, are not predictable in timing and do not support a full-time position.

--Prudent use of overtime or compensatory time.

--Use of employees detailed from other units (borrowed labor).

--Part-time or intermittent appointments.

--Incorporate new work into existing positions.

--Incorporated new work into existing positions.

--Use of consultants and experts.

--Use of contractor personnel.

(4) Combine basic work assignments into one broad job description when flexibility in work scheduling and assignments is required, but only when all major duties will be performed. From a cost point of view this is most appropriate when all or most of the duties are at the same grade level. Avoid narrow assignments at the basic work level when work schedules do not permit full work load at all times. Examples:

--Combine Warehouse Worker WG-5 positions with Pork Lift Operator WG-5 work and Packer WG-5 to assure full utilization.

--Combine Driver duties with limited maintenance duties.

--Combine cashier and clerical work when this results in full work load.

(5) Enlarge positions (job enhancement) by adding duties in consideration of employee strengths and career interests in duty assignments. For example:

--A Voucher Examiner could be assigned the duties of receiving and handling subsequent payment problems and preparing related correspondence.

--A Payroll Clerk could also handle correspondence on payroll questions or errors, delays, etc.

--A Receptionist could also serve as a Clerk-Typist.

(6) Plan for increased use of employee details to meet workload requirements and employee development needs; and to provide back-up capability to cover annual and sick leave.

3-5. Position Management and Organization and Supervisory Structure.

a. Poor organizational and supervisory job relationships are expensive in terms of grade level and labor costs, and may disrupt or impede work processes and communications. Excessive numbers of supervisory jobs are expensive in terms of increased overhead and labor costs. Additional layers of supervision impede work processes and communications; and make it difficult to delegate authority and establish accountability. The objective is to establish an economical and effective supervisory structure. As such the following must be considered:

(1) Avoid overlap in functions between organizations. Assure there is a distinct difference in purpose or function. Combine organizations when functions are closely related and avoid unnecessary organizational splintering or fragmentation.

(2) Avoid unnecessary organizational levels and excessive supervisory or other review levels.

(3) Avoid realignment or reorganizations intended in part to support higher grades.

(4) Review the need for deputy or assistant positions. Use only when managerial work load is extensive, particularly when a number of subordinate units are established with diversified functions.

(5) Evaluate appropriateness of supervisory ratios and eliminate unnecessary supervisory positions. A span of control of no less than eight subordinates should be used as a guide for a full-time first line supervisor. In industrial production or shop organizations the span of control can be greater. In highly specialized organizations it may be more narrow. Similarly, second level supervisors should direct at least four subordinate supervisors.

Informational Graphic

b. Trends in supervisory ratio should be continually monitored. The guidance contained in CPR 501.5-3b(1) should be carefully considered before establishing new supervisory positions or filling supervisor vacancies, and during surveys and development of position management recommendations (HQDA components only refer to app A, sec 4 of AR 690-500, chapter 5, paragraph 5-8b(1).

c. Team leader positions, whether GS or WG, are often classified one grade above the "journeyman" or "full performance" grade level. Blue collar leaders, for example, all receive pay 10% higher than the workers they lead. Accordingly, the need for team leaders and other quasi-supervisory jobs must he as carefully assessed for need and cost effectiveness as when reviewing the supervisory structure.

d. "Senior" or "expert" positions also frequently produce a grade premium (one grade above the "journeyman") because control over their work is typically only administrative in nature and not technical. Considerations here must include whether this kind of expertise is actually needed or is actually provided, whether existing supervisory jobs will permit or prevent such independent performance, and whether existing supervisor positions could provide the needed expertise. One should seriously consider adding nonsupervisory duties to supervisory jobs when the unit supervised is small but still requires a supervisor.

3-6. Options in Establishing Nonsupervisory Jobs.

The objective here is to establish positions consistent with the grade level of assigned functions and work load. Avoid "job dilution" situations in which positions include high grade duties for a limited percentage of time. Such situations are overly costly as the positions are typically classified to the higher grade level work. Higher grade duties should be concentrated in as few positions as required by actual work operations. In establishing jobs the following options should be considered:

a. Consider use of Clerk-Typist, GS-2 and Clerk-Stenographer, GS-3 positions as basic continuing jobs rather than entry levels, depending upon the results of staffing analysis and the local recruitment situation.

b. Review mixed grade technician-type positions at the GS-7, 8, or 9 levels in various series and consider establishment of lower level technician/ assistant jobs at the GS-4, 5, or 6 levels consistent with assigned work load. This approach is particularly appropriate in units where two or more identical positions exist with mixed grade duties. Job redesign can enhance employee development through work experience at successively more complex levels of work.

c. Clearly distinguish technician duties from professional or specialist duties. Where mixed jobs exist, and as warranted by work load analysis, greater use should be made of technician/assistant positions in lieu of professional-type positions in engineering, medical, accounting, personnel management, budget, supply, recreation and other occupations.

d. Balance the proportion of professional or technical positions in a unit with the number of lower grade support positions such as clerical, drafting, or aide. For example, when lower grade support work comprises one-third of the man-years of effort of the unit, approximately one-third of the positions should be at the lower grades.

Informational Graphic

e. Balance the number of GS-9, GS-11, and GS-12 level positions when establishing specialist and professional positions in field organizations. Position structures based on two grade interval series (GS-5, 7, 9, 11) often permit more than one level of full performance. Design positions based on the amount of work at the various grade levels in the function, for example:

--Where complexity of work supports two full performance grade levels (e.g., GS-11 and GS-12) ensure that the higher positions are restricted to the minimum number required to work at that level.

--Selectively establish GS-12 positions based upon a narrowed scope of responsibilities in functions where GS-13 jobs of broad scope are used; for example, headquarters staff jobs or in R&D activities. The same approach can be used for other grade levels and work situations.

f. Balance the number of WG-7, 8, 9 and 10 levels in wage grade positions. Wage grade occupations ordinarily lend themselves to the establishment of more than one level of full performance. Establish positions based on the amount of work at various grade levels in the organizations.

g. Consider use of additional wage grade helper (WG--5) positions in organizations containing skilled trade occupations WG-9 and above. If analysis of work load establishes that a substantial amount of simpler or more routine work exists, determine and establish the proper mix of helper, intermediate and journeyman positions.

To Contents

Chapter 4


4-1. Position Classification Changes.

a. Changes in position classification are most frequently based on position management decisions made by responsible managers and supervisors in response to changes in mission, organization resources, priorities, and technology of the work performed.

b. Effective position management depends upon sound position classification decisions (determination of title, occupational series, and grade). Those decisions can be more properly reached when managers and supervisors:

(1) Report job changes promptly, and ensure that assigned duties and responsibilities are not overstated and are consistent with authorized functions.

(2) Recognize high performance achievements of incumbents through performance bonuses or incentive awards and not through requests for higher grade levels (except in limited cases where the "person-in-job" concept applies, e.g., research positions where the basic grade of the position may be increased dependent upon the scientific contributions of the incumbent).

(3) Request reclassification upgrade of incumbered positions only after new responsibilities have been firmly established and performed, and alternative actions have been explored. For example, assign the work that is the basis for the upgrade to a position already at that grade level. Up-grades should neither take place prematurely, nor be so delayed that a m/s-assignment or improper classification exists. (Also see AR 690-300, Chapter 335, Promotion and Internal Placement.)

4-2. Reporting Changes.

a. The manager should review the position structure and report changes as the need arises, but particularly during classification surveys. Classification surveys, which are conducted on a two-year cycle, include the requirement to conduct a position management review. However, work organization and position structure improvement is an on-going management responsibility.

b. Managers, with assistance of position classification specialists and other staff specialists such as manpower specialists, should consider and use their position management options when:

(1) Establishing a new organization.

(2) Planning a reorganization.

(3) Participating in manpower surveys.

(4) Developing command plans and troop list.

(5) Preparing Tables of Distribution and Allowances (TDA).

(6) Job vacancies occur.

(7) Developing budget estimates and requirements for permanent positions.

(8) Introducing new technology, equipment, and systems.

4-3. Putting Position Structure Improvements Into Effect.

a. Ordinarily a manager has considerable latitude over the timing and implementation of position management actions. Exceptions or limitations in this discretionary area often result from statutory or regulatory requirements or a higher echelon policy (for example, average grade or high grade controls; a local installation decision by higher level management; and the statutory and/or negotiated requirements to inform and negotiate with recognized Union representatives prior to implementation).

b. While saved grade/saved pay provisions may eliminate the initial ad-verse impact on employee grades and salary when the position structure is significantly changed or reduced, there may still be an adverse impact on morale. On the other hand the manager is there to manage, and cost saving improvements cannot be ignored or indefinitely deferred.

c. To offset adverse impact on employees, implementation should take maximum advantage of attrition and vacant positions. Reassignments should be used whenever possible to minimize downgrading and the use of saved grade/pay provisions. Team efforts by the manager, classifier and staffing specialist can result in a well constructed plan and timetable for position structure changes.

To Contents

Chapter 5


5-1. Affirmative Action Implications.

Positions and organizations should be structured with EEO affirmative action goals in mind. Positions should be identified for change to provide upward mobility opportunities for lower grade and otherwise disadvantaged or under utilized employees. Wherever possible, bridge positions should be established to provide a career path to more responsible and better paying positions. These positions should be established to facilitate advancement of minorities, women, and handicapped employees. See AR 690-500, chapter 501, subchapter 7.

5-2. Meeting Supervisory EEO Goals.

The manager is required to explore all opportunities to engineer jobs downward to provide entry level and up-ward mobility positions for minority and female employees where such actions have been identified to meet EEO Affirmative Action goals and to correct staffing inbalances.

The proponent agency of this pamphlet is the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. Users are invited to send comments and suggested improvements on DA Form 2028 (Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms) directly to HQDA (DAPE-CPP), WASH DC 20310.

By Order of the Secretary of the Army:


General, United States Army

Chief of Staff



Brigadier General United States Army

The Adjutant General


Active Army, ARNG, USAR: To be distributed in accordance with DA Form 12-4, requirements for DA Pamphlets; CPP.

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