For Marine Corps personnel, as well as the Federal Workforce at large, it is imperative that agencies clearly communicate performance expectations and work responsibilities. Through active performance management, supervisors should work constantly with their employees to ensure clarity of expectations and goals.
The foundation of this process, and the main avenue for agencies to communicate expectations to personnel, is the Position Description (PD). A PD is a statement of the major duties, responsibilities, and supervisory relationships of a position. In its simplest form, a PD indicates the work to be performed by the incumbent in the position.
Position descriptions are more than just a list of duties. They are used for many purposes: to use to recruit to fill the position, to define the employee’s duties in the workplace, justify his or her salary; and to determine awards and even promotions. It’s not hard to see that how a Position Description is often the basis for most personnel actions from hiring to promoting to firing.
Your PD should be provided for you when you check in with your new office, and your Supervisor can provide you specific information regarding how it relates to your role and responsibilities.
Every Position Description contains a combination of factors that determine the nature and difficulty of the position. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) lists a number of critical factors that should be addressed in some way in every PD. Here are the factors:
- Introduction: a statement of the primary purpose of the position and its relationship to the organization
- Major Duties: briefly describes the major duties performed
- Knowledge Required: what kind and level of knowledge and skills are needed and how they are used in doing the work
- Supervisory Controls: how the work is assigned, what the employee's responsibility is for carrying out the work, and how the work is reviewed
- Guidelines: the kind of guidelines used in doing the work and how much judgment is needed to use them
- Complexity: the nature of the assignment, what the employee considers when deciding what must be done, and how difficult and original are the employee's actions or responses
- Scope and Effect: the purpose of the work and the impact of the work product
- Contacts: the level of authority with which this position has job-related contacts
- Purpose of Contacts: dealing with people who are skeptical, uncooperative, unreceptive, or hostile; or, settling controversial issues or arriving at compromise solutions with people who have different viewpoints, goals, or objectives
- Physical Demands: how often and how intense the activity is and should include any physical characteristics or special abilities needed
- Work Environment: describes the physical surroundings in which the employee works and any special safety regulations or precautions that the employee must observe to avoid mishaps or discomfort
[Click Here] to read the chapter of the (OPM) The Classifier's Handbook describing in detail the elements that make up a good PD.
While PD-based classification actions (regarding Series and Grade) are often made at the agency level, standards for PD’s are established by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). To access OPM resources related to Classification and Job Grading, please visit: http://www.opm.gov/fedclass.
For information about the Human Resources Office that provides classification support for HQMC, please visit the Staffing and Classification website.