How Position Management Simplifies Your Life

position managementDo you follow position management best practices in your organization? Do you use your HR software’s full capabilities to increase efficiency? Creating positions, inserting them into the organization’s hierarchy, assigning job descriptions, salaries, and requirements for those positions, hiring the right people to fill them—all of these tasks flow out of position management. If you get it right, you add tremendous value to the organization. If you don’t, you could sabotage productivity with reporting problems, inefficient recruiting processes, and increased data maintenance needs. 
The good news is that your HRMS makes this process easier by helping you manage relationships between organizational structure, jobs, positions, and employees. It also streamlines the process of creating and maintaining positions within the organization.
In short, position management is a fundamental building block of your integrated HRMS system.

The Difference Between a Job and a Position

 Resist the urge to use the terms “job” and “position” interchangeably. Understanding what each term refers to within the context of your HRMS will help you use your system’s capabilities to their full potential.
  • Job – A job is a collection of related tasks and responsibilities that are grouped together for the purpose of accomplishing work within an organization. A job has specific characteristics. For example, a person must possess certain skills, education and occupational experience to qualify for that job. It has a job grade (for compensation purposes), a targeted salary, and a compensation market value. It requires certain competencies that may be used for career/succession planning or individual performance management. Example: Your organization may include the jobs CEO, HR Administrator, or Accounts Payable Clerk III.
  • Position – A position is a specific occurrence of a job within an organization, or one “chair.” The position is linked to the job and inherits all of the characteristics of a job. For example, the position of HR Administrator will have all of the same characteristics of the HR Administrator job – the same grade, job description, salary, etc. In some cases, there is only one position attached to a job. You could have the CEO job and attached to it, a CEO position. In other cases you might have one job and many positions. For example, you might have one Accounts Payable Clerk III job, and 30 positions that fulfill the role of an Accounts Payable Clerk III. One position = one employee, but one job (may) = many employees.

At first glance it may seem like a position and a job are equivalent terms, but used differently. But that’s not the case. A position will have many additional characteristics beyond those it inherited from the job. The position will be located in an organizational unit (division, department, etc.) and report to another position. It may also have other positions that report to it. It has a certain work location, an organizational cost center to charge pay costs, and may define a specific budgeted amount for salary.

Position Management With Your HRMS

Why all this hair-splitting about jobs versus positions? Does it matter what you call it?

It matters to your HRMS. And your HRMS has the power to make your life easier by maintaining your organizational charts and structure based on how you input data.

When you create a position, your HRMS will maintain historical information about that position. The position will initially show as vacant. When you attach an employee to the position, it will show as being occupied by that employee. Should that employee move to another position or resign, the position once again shows as vacant. Here's an example from Vista HRMS:

 Vista HRMS position management

With position-based org charts, your reporting and structure capabilities aren’t tied to a specific employee. They’re tied to the position. If an employee leaves, your org chart remains intact and you can still perform “point in time” reporting based on stored historical data.

Example: John Jones accepts the HR Administrator-Sales Training position. He inherits the following characteristics associated with that position: he reports to Mary Smith who is the sales training manager, he is in the Sales Training Department, located at the 123 Main Street location; he is in cubicle 53 on the 9th floor. His cost center is 12071-Sales Training in the general ledger.

The HRMS system will also default all of the characteristics of the job to the employee record. So, John Jones has a job description of HR Administrator. He is a pay grade 6 with a resulting salary range of $25,000 minimum, $30,000 Mid-point and $35,000 maximum. The system calculates his budgeted pay rate, determines his eligible benefits, and retrieves his labor distribution data. Meanwhile the position status has been changed from “vacant” to “filled.”

John Jones will also have additional characteristics specific to him beyond those he inherited from the job and the position. These characteristics include demographic information (name, address, telephone number, benefit enrollment information, emergency contact names and numbers) and a specific salary.

Position management gives you the structure to create all of the jobs and positions in an organization based on their characteristics without tying them to a specific individual. Effectively, you build a blank organization chart of your company and fill in all the information except that pertaining to the employee. Similar jobs or positions can be copied and modified to suit the circumstance.

How Vista HRMS Position Management Makes Your Life Easier

By now you may be thinking, “That’s great and all—but why should I care?” 
Here’s why. Position management makes your life easier by reducing the amount of busywork you have to do to keep your organization running. Vista HRMS, for example, can improve efficiency with data entry, recruiting, reporting, and more. Let’s look at a few of the ways their position management function makes your life easier:

  • Simplify data entry—You don’t have to re-enter job and position specifics every time you hire a new employee. Simply plug his or her name and employee information into the position and you’re off and running.
  • Improve data integrity—Because positions remain in place even when vacant, you have fewer data entry errors.
  • Generate job postings—When you’re ready to hire, your HRMS can generate job postings using the descriptions and qualifications attached to the position. Some systems also provide search functions and reporting based on open positions, allowing you to match your needs with candidate applications.
  • Streamline HR functions with reports—Create reports for open positions, approvals, job requirements, and candidate skills matching based on the data you’ve already entered.
  • Maintain hierarchical structure—Define hierarchical relationships based on positions, not individuals. If the VP of Finance must approve budget proposals, for example, department heads will report to that person. But suppose the VP of Finance role is currently vacant? With position management, the organizational structure remains the same—employees still report to that position—and whoever manages that position during the interim will simply take over the responsibilities. Once you fill the position, you won’t need to restructure, because you never changed the hierarchy in the first place.
  • Security administration – Because employee records link to their reporting supervisors in the organization hierarchy, your HRMS will know which managers can access information about which employees. You can use this capability for goal setting, approvals, training checklists, and any other tasks that require management approval.
Position management isn’t really a new concept, but it may be a capability you’re not using to its fullest position. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at how position management can make your life easier. And if you’re still structuring your organization based on employees instead of positions, it’s time for a change.

Because when it comes to organizational hierarchy, position management simply makes sense.

To quickly view which HCM software products offer position management capabilities for your industry, size and business criteria, check out our free HCM Quick Search Tool