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Position Management: Definition, Benefits and Best Practices

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    Position management is the process of optimizing human capital by placing the right employees in the ideal roles. Effective position management helps foster equity, accountability and clarity for everyone in an organization. Poor position management can spur inefficiency and deter employees from growing within a company. Read how to understand and optimize position management.

    A company’s success depends on hiring top talent and placing them in the ideal roles. And guiding those efforts with position management is the key to optimizing your workforce.

    Let’s explore what position management is and how wielding it effectively helps businesses inspire employees toward long-term goals.

    What is position management?

    Position management is the process of optimizing human capital and workforce effectiveness by determining:

    • what different roles do
    • how the organizational structure should look
    • how many potential positions a business needs to succeed

    Why do companies need position management?

    Position management helps optimize an organization’s human capital planning. Here are a few specific ways it helps businesses channel their workforce to reach specific goals:

    • Clearly defined job expectations: Through position management, employers can tie job responsibilities to a specific role instead of an individual.
    • Accountability: Having a clear understanding of assigned responsibilities makes it easier for employees to stay accountable and hold colleagues responsible for their performed duties.
    • Ensures equity: By linking job attributes to a position instead of an individual employee, position management helps employers avoid costly discrimination claims from employees who feel they’ve been treated inconsistently with others in the same position.

    How does position management work?

    Position management requires careful deliberation, planning and the right HR technology to be effective. You can use the following tips to introduce and maintain position management within your organization.

    1. Workforce allocation

    Workforce allocation is the foundation of position management. It’s the process of strategically assigning tasks, responsibilities and roles based on employees’ capabilities and experience.

    2. Define budget and roles

    An organization needs to map out the roles and number of employees required to maximize productivity and obtain positive results. This also relates to assessing your human capital budget and making changes to afford what’s needed for organizational success.

    3. Defining positions and requirements

    Once you’ve mapped out how many and what kind of roles are needed, it’s time to define what job attributes would be tied to each position. Think about the work you want the individuals within certain roles to perform.

    4. Create talent engagement standards

    Effective position management requires employers to keep their top talent engaged and retained to achieve maximum success. It is important to define what growth looks like for each position. This can be done by providing the right compensation, benefits and advancement opportunities.

    5. Forecasting the right number

    Without the right data, forecasting the accurate number of employees an organization needs is nearly impossible. This can result in an organization either overburdening its current employees or overpaying for the roles it doesn’t actually need.

    To forecast the right figures, companies should base projections on how well they performed in the past year with a certain number of employees. From there, an employer can anticipate how much additional talent it may need.

    6. Create a standardized promotion cycle

    Ample growth opportunities tend to motivate employees to engage with their work and perform at a higher level. Employers should create a standard promotion cycle. In other words, they should define what career growth looks like for each position.

    For example, an associate analyst for a marketing research firm may be promoted to standard analyst within three to six months based on performance. Similarly, an analyst can expect to be promoted to a senior or lead analyst within one to two years, depending on their performance. Other than titles, an increase in compensation, benefits and flexibility should also be considered along with promotions.

    7. Ongoing monitoring and analysis

    Like every other process, long-term success depends on understanding progress. It’s important to trace the trajectory of newly defined positions and roles, then analyze performance data and make any adjustments or changes for maximum results.

    Position management vs. job management

    It’s reasonable to confuse position management with job management. Consider the following to understand the two practices’ differences:

    Position management responsibilities Job management responsibilities
    Assigning different attributes to a position, like work location, status, access level, etc. Assigning job titles and tasks to employees.
    Workforce planning, position creation and organizational restructuring. Job posting, screening, hiring, other forms of recruitment and performance management.
    Focuses on the number of positions needed and the budget for a given head count. Focuses on the skills and experiences needed to perform a specific job.

    Benefits of position management

    Position management helps prime an organization for long-term success. Here are just a few ways how.

    Strategic alignment

    Position management ensures an organization’s workforce structure aligns with business goals and objectives. By defining specific responsibilities and expectations for each position, employees have a clearer sense of what they should contribute to the organization.

    Workforce optimization

    Position management helps organizations maximize workforce efficiency by aligning individuals’ skills, experiences and capabilities with the responsibilities assigned to them. This ensures that each employee is in a role that best utilizes their strengths to achieve increased:

    • productivity
    • performance
    • efficiency


    As mentioned above, when job traits are linked to specific positions and employees are assigned accordingly, it’s easier to determine who is responsible for which tasks, enhancing accountability.

    Reduced errors

    By clearly defining roles and responsibilities for each position, the quality of work increases, employees’ performance becomes consistent with their position, and it reduces work errors and inefficiency.

    Streamlined recruitment

    Performance management involves regularly monitoring progress, which also includes anticipating staffing needs. With this knowledge in tow, it’s easier for HR to plan their recruitment processes timely and efficiently.

    Budget management

    Position management helps organizations effectively manage their budgets by aligning staffing needs with the organization’s financial capacity and priorities. In turn, this also helps allocate resources to the most important areas.

    Better talent management

    Through performance management, organizations gain deep insight into:

    • how its workforce is performing
    • what resources top talent use most
    • whether it needs to add more people for organizational success

    It also helps to develop talent within the organization based on an individual’s strengths and capabilities. This makes it easier for an employer to manage their existing talent and bring on new hires that the company actually needs.

    Position management best practices

    Position management can be lengthy and time-consuming, but following some best practices can make it much easier.

    Defining expectations clearly

    Tying job attributes to a position isn’t necessarily hard. But it won’t be effective if the employees assigned to those positions don’t understand what’s expected of them. Defining each job trait clearly and setting the right expectations is vital for effective performance management.

    Focus on succession planning and employee training

    Focusing on employees and their training to mold them into future leaders is crucial for an organization’s success. By empowering employees, your position management efforts will help make lasting, positive impacts. And with the right approach to succession planning, your employees won’t just want to start their career with your organization — they may want to finish it there, too.

    Use the right tech

    Manual position management can be filled with time-consuming and repetitive tasks. Use a truly single HR software to make it easier to navigate and automate core processes. For example, when a change in a role is made, the right automated position management software will update all identical or related positions accordingly.

    How does position management software help?

    Position management software can help streamline the process by:

    • making it easier to assign job attributes to a specific position
    • automatically updating position-appropriate changes
    • providing a clear view of your organization’s staffing needs to ensure timely recruitment processes

    Not every tool can help with everything. That’s why it’s important to compare multiple options and choose the one that meets most, if not all, of your organization’s performance management needs.

    Position management offers many benefits, from workforce alignment with an organization’s goals and objectives to better budget and talent management. Every organization wants to use its available resources and talent to its full potential. With strong performance management, it’s easier than you think.

    Position management: FAQ

    How can Paycom help with position management?

    Paycom’s Position Management software automatically spreads personnel changes throughout its entire single software. This includes automatically updating payroll with new salary grades, eliminating the need for data reentry.

    How does position management give time back to employees?

    Through position management, you assign employees specific responsibilities and set up the right expectations for their roles, thus giving them a clear view of what they should be focusing on. This makes it easier for employees to contribute toward company goals and organizational success.

    Are performance management and position management the same thing?

    No. Performance management involves evaluating an employee’s job performance, while position management focuses on defining the responsibilities of a position and assigning employees to those positions for organizational success.

    What is the primary goal of position management?

    The primary goal of position management is to allocate the right resources and people to help a company grow and thrive.

    What is the difference between recruitment and position management?

    Recruitment is hiring for a job title, while position management is the process of defining job responsibilities for a specific position and assigning employees to it.

    Explore Paycom’s resources to learn more about employee development, recruitment and more.

    DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.