Top 11 Position Management Practices for HR

Managing a large workforce is a difficult job. As your company continues to grow, more work piles on, and you may worry that you don’t have enough employees to handle it.

But if you aren’t keeping a close eye on each position and how each one is affected by the scaling, some employees may be overworked. If this continues for too long, some employees may eventually decide to leave the company altogether. At the same time, you may have other employees that aren’t being utilized to their full potential. Properly executed position management really does benefit the entire company.

But when you’re in the weeds of the daily workflow, sometimes it’s hard to know whether you need to hire more people, fire people, promote internally, or what other changes you can make to keep things running.

This is where a solid position management strategy can come into place. By managing your workforce according to standard positions (instead of creating new jobs to accommodate new responsibilities), you can achieve several benefits in your organization.

Let’s take a look at 11 position management best practices you can implement in your organization.

What is Position Management?

First, it’s important to understand what position management is and how it differs from traditional job management.

Job management is the way many organizations handle work. In essence, job management involves looking at the work that needs to be done and hiring as many new employees as you need (or can afford) to get that work done.

The problem with this approach to workforce allocation is that it isn’t specific enough. In some cases, the need for some employees may dissolve sooner than you think (resulting in unfortunate terminations). But besides that, traditional job management can be messy. This type of workforce management doesn’t give you a clear structure for the organization. You may end up distributing work unevenly or experiencing budget problems due to a chaotic labor allocation system.

In contrast, position management focuses on the needs of the business and creates a preset structure of different roles required to meet those needs. With position management, there is always a structure to your workforce whether or not someone is available to fill each role. You can hire or promote employees according to the actual needs of the company and not just who’s available to help.

In this system, positions may exist without an employee. Those responsibilities need to be completed, and it’s classified as a “vacancy” when no one is available to fill the position. Each position will have associated attributes as well, such as department, responsibilities, standard work hours, location, base salary, benefits, etc. With this framework, positions can be grouped together by certain attributes to form teams.

Benefits of Position Management

There are several benefits of implementing a position management strategy in your organization. Here are some of the best potential outcomes:

Standardized Hiring Procedure

With a solid position management system, you can avoid unnecessary hiring or promotions that either you can’t afford or won’t be helpful to your business. Since all the positions are already set, you know what you need to hire for and where you can promote your employees internally.

Plus, when you post a job, you already know what qualifications you’re looking for (such as education, certifications, or experience). All of this is already defined once a position is created in your system. When you hire an employee to fill that role, the expectations are clear for their performance, work hours, etc.

Better Budget Tracking and Workforce Allocation

Position management also connects your workforce to your budget. By predetermining a salary, benefits package, and purchasing budget for each position, you will already have the cost of labor in front of you. This way, you can know your financial needs and can allocate labor costs accurately. The cost of each position will already be available to you.

Consistent Business Structure

Since work positions already exist in this framework with or without employees to fill  them, you can always plan around the structure of your workforce. From there, you can work to fill gaps and make your business run as necessary. A set system also provides greater visibility into your business’s needs so you can see how much revenue you need for your team to operate to its full potential.

Even Work Distribution

Because you know what each position in the company is responsible for, you can  distribute work across multiple roles evenly and create accurate performance standards. For example, you may have a department with ten clients to manage. You can then create two “account manager” positions and assign five clients to each position. This ensures that each employee is working to their full capacity (if that’s what your data suggests) and no one is taking on more work than necessary to make your business operate.

11 Best Practices for Effective Position Management

Position management can take different forms, depending on the needs of your business. However, the companies that handle position management well tend to adopt similar habits. Implementing an effective position management strategy can take some thinking and planning, and the ongoing position management process is whole task in itself. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

1. Start With Workforce Allocation

Before you start creating positions you think your company needs, it’s important to know how much work you need to accomplish overall.

First, take a full inventory of the responsibilities of your business. Start with outlining general responsibilities for running the business itself (production, sales, marketing, payroll, accounting, IT, etc.). Then, quantify these responsibilities by how much work (in terms of hours or resources required per month or year) it would take to complete all these responsibilities effectively while remaining profitable. You may discover gaps in your workforce or other needs you didn’t know you had.

This can get very complicated, especially if you’re doing it by hand. If you have access to workforce analytics via an HCM platform, this can make the process much easier. Workforce analytics provide visibility into how much work your teams are doing, as well as a slew of other metrics to help you gain a clear picture of your work requirements and what you’ll need to fulfill them.

2. Know Your Budget

Now that you know the full volume of work that needs to be done, you can start to look at your available resources. Consider what your business can afford to pay in terms of wages, benefits packages, taxes, etc. While you need to fill each position to make your business run effectively, you don’t want to put people into positions you can’t afford to hire for.

You can account for future revenue to some degree in outlining future hires, but this isn’t always a guarantee. This may indicate that you need to hire more salespeople, adjust costs in other areas, or something else to meet your staffing needs. The point is that effective position management needs to align your human capital needs with your budget. If you know your company’s budget for labor and related spending, you can create positions that will directly benefit your workforce instead of costing your organization money.

3. Use an HCM

This might be the most important best practice for position management on this list. Implementing and managing any position management strategy manually (even in spreadsheets or general software) is tough even for a small team — and nearly impossible to scale.

Without a dedicated Human Capital Management (HCM) software that’s built to help you manage your employee workforce, the entire process can quickly get out of control. Even if you manage to create customized spreadsheet formulas to automate and visualize your position management strategy, this isn’t granular or intuitive enough to make the process efficient. You need a system that can consistently deliver reports and insights to help your company be ready to take on the future.

An HCM will automatically update and keep track of your position structure and information so you avoid hiring or promoting someone into a role that isn’t available (or is redundant). It also keeps track of the history of each position so you know when an employee started or left a role. Most importantly, an HCM makes your position management system more accurate and easier to track/update over time. The best platforms allow you to customize to include specific fields for each position unique to your industry or business.

4. Distinguish Positions by Name and Number

With a moderate-to-large workforce, the names of each position may be hard to recall (especially when some of them sound very similar). While you should always name your positions (chief executive officer, administrative assistant, account manager, etc.), you should also assign them a unique number. This is especially important when you have a position with more than one seat.

Assigning a number allows you to codify each position in a database as totally unique. It will also be useful when referring to that position in a report or discussion later on. It can also help you search for specific positions and avoid duplicate entries. Luckily, most HCM platforms do this automatically.

5. Create Specific Attributes for Each Position

Each position in your HCM should have specific attributes and fields that define it. With Criterion HCM, you can define positions down to a very granular level. This includes fields such as:

  • Department
  • Work periods
  • Employee classification (full-time, part-time, seasonal, etc.)
  • Wage information (salary minimum/maximum, hourly wages, target pay rate, etc.)
  • Insurance type
  • Budget code
  • Contract type
  • And more!

You can also create custom fields for your positions to track unique attributes. For instance, you may specify what qualifications are required for new hires to fill each position, such as education, certifications, or employment experience.

6. Look at Past and Future Data When Creating Positions

Without the proper data, it can be difficult to understand what positions you need to make the company work best (or what attributes those positions need to have). To understand this, use your HCM to create workforce analytics and budget reports. This will help you gain better visibility into how your company operates so you can make better decisions about how to structure your teams.

To start the process, look at how well your company performed in the past with a certain number of employees. Then, use reporting features to forecast how many people you might need in the future. From there, work to make  projections about what positions you may need to add or adjust in order to meet those needs.

7. Standardize Your Position Management Process

Once you develop a solid strategy and set up your position management system in your HCM, you’ll need to perform continuous maintenance to keep your business running smoothly. Sometimes positions change, employees leave, or you need to add new positions to accommodate new responsibilities.

It’s important to control how your HR team manages your system so that positions are updated correctly and new positions are only added as necessary. To do this, document your process for making changes or adding positions within your HCM. This may involve checking the budget for available labor cost, getting prior approval from upper management, or implementing a different process (if necessary) for a more profitable strategy. The point is to document the update process in detail so the system remains working and intact.

8. Forecast Turnover Rates

For one reason or another, some employees are going to leave the company over time. While it isn’t ideal, you want to plan for this by analyzing your turnover rate and identifying trends. This can help you prepare for vacant positions that you’ll need to fill quickly in order to stay productive. This will also give you valuable insight when working to decrease turnover rates in your organization. You will be better able to observe a spike in turnovers whenever it happens, and not waste energy worrying about a trend that was likely due to happen anyway.

9. Create Talent Engagement Standards for Each Position

A talent engagement strategy is a key part of making sure your best employees keep working for your company. But some employees require different approaches to engagement to remain satisfied in their positions.

For instance, entry-level employees may be satisfied with fewer benefits or rewards as long as there is a promise of promotion (with better packages). However, higher-level employees (especially those with a longer employment history at your company) may expect more from their employee experience in the form of higher pay, competitive benefits packages, and better rewards (bonuses, prizes, etc.). As part of your position management, it’s a good idea to define a standard talent engagement strategy across all departments, then tailor that according to the needs of each position.

10. Establish a Promotion Cycle (According to Business Needs)

Promoting your employees is an important part of talent engagement and your organization’s overall growth. If you don’t promote employees regularly, they may feel stuck or dissatisfied with their position. This makes them more apt to leave for a company they believe will offer more upward mobility. For instance, in B2B sales, SDRs (Sales Development Reps) will leave a company if they are not promoted within two years (on average).

Your position management structure is a key step toward creating rewarding career frameworks for your employees. But you can’t just promote people whenever they want to be promoted. In a well-optimized position management system, there needs to be a vacant seat to which an employee can move up.

While you may be able to create a new position for someone, this may not always be financially viable. However, you should strive to promote employees on a regular basis to avoid stagnation. Analyze workforce data to find the best way to regularly promote employees so you continue to keep them motivated and satisfied with working for your company.

11. Update Position Data When Employees Leave

Sometimes, no matter what you do to engage your team, employees still leave for other opportunities. But when this happens, their position still exists, and you’ll need to fill it quickly to stay productive. Your HR department should take time to regularly update position records, including the history of employees who filled that role, responsibility changes (if any), and what attributes of the position are necessary to retain for future success. This will ensure the structure of your workforce remains optimized for the future.

Final Thoughts

A position management strategy is essential to maintaining a balanced and productive workforce within any organization. It ensures that the structure of your business remains intact and ensures that beneficial hiring and talent engagement practices remain in place.

The more your team grows, the more difficult it will be to keep track of all your positions effectively. Criterion is the best HCM software to can help you implement a more accurate and efficient position management system with your employees. With customizable position attributes and workforce allocation features, you can effectively manage your workforce with greater leverage than any homegrown solution. But Criterion can also do much more for your HR department, including payroll processing, talent engagement administration, and helping to align your HR department with company goals.

Request a demo today to see how Criterion HCM can improve your human resource processes!