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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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