Automating Classification

Creating a job description for a new employee is, in theory, a simple enough process for a federal manager: Identify the duties that need to be performed and the qualifications applicants need, then write up a job description. Fitting that description into the federal job classification system is much trickier, however.

A manager must go back and forth with classification specialists to determine what grade the new position fits into, comparing it with the almost 500 documents that make up the government's classification standards. Reaching agreement can take months--one manager told Office of Personnel Management classification specialist Helene Rosenheim it took 180 days to go from identifying a position to actually seeking applicants for the job.

Armed with similar stories from throughout the bureaucracy, Rosenheim and an interagency working group set about to automate the classification process. Rosenheim's efforts are taking shape as a software product that aims to reduce the time managers spend on classification to a matter of hours.

The Federal Automated Classification Expert System, or FACES, will allow managers to compare job descriptions they write to a database of positions from across government. The database will include information on the grade level of comparable positions, allowing managers and classification specialists to bypass the reams of paper-based standards they now must sort through. Rosenheim predicts that FACES will eventually be available on the Internet, providing managers with a governmentwide up-to-date database.

The biggest advantage, Rosenheim says, will be the time saved.

"Classification is a very analytical process," she says. FACES will save managers time by putting the analysis behind the scenes.

FACES will be available within two years, Rosenheim predicts.

Rosenheim is presenting the classification automation project at the Reinvention Revolution Conference. Check the Daily Fed this week for more stories of frontline reinventors like Rosenheim.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.