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HR GLOSSARY

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HR Glossary | What Does Position Management Mean?

Position Management

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What does position management mean?

Position management is the process that companies, usually with guidance from the HR department, use to determine which positions, and how many, need to be on board to accomplish the organization’s goals and objectives.  

Often a flawed process

In many organizations, though, position management is less of a science than an art. In some cases it’s more of a “necessary evil”—part of the annual budgeting process where numbers are matched to people to provide the organization with some measure of their human resource costs for the upcoming year.

Unfortunately, the process of position management is often a flawed process. This is precisely because it’s generally approached on an annual basis. In truth, though, position management is a fluid process with people coming and going throughout the year and the need for new positions emerging based on needs that often can’t be predicted at a standardized point in time.

Because these changes are episodic rather than cyclical, it’s simply not possible for any organization to predict with accuracy exactly which, and how many, positions might be needed in the future.

Instead, organizations should opt for a continuous process that can better accommodate the unexpected realities of the real world.

A continuous position management approach

Taking a continuous approach to position management that involves ongoing review and adjustments throughout the year based on both business need (e.g., increased business demand, entry into new markets, etc.), and staffing shifts (e.g., turnover, promotions, etc.), allows for greater accuracy and more flexibility in responding to changes.

In addition, reviewing how your plan compares to actual numbers can help you identify problems before they become significant and provide opportunities to reallocate funding based on immediate and emerging needs.

Adding value

HR has an opportunity to add value to the position management process by being more proactive and focusing on meaningful metrics to identify staffing needs in near real-time. Leveraging the value of timely workforce metrics can inform this process leading to the better use of HR budgets.

About the author: Linda Pophal

Linda Pophal, MA, PCM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the founder and owner of Strategic Communications, LLC, and a marketing and communication strategist with expertise in HR and employee relations. With a background as a business journalist, her writing has appeared in the HR Daily Advisor, Human Resource Executive, and SHRM. She is a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.

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