NASA LaRC Internal Memo: Position Descriptions - Center-Wide Update

Status Report From: Langley Research Center
Posted: Monday, April 11, 2005

Subject: Position Descriptions - Center-Wide Update

Recently there have been many questions raised about position descriptions and how to prepare or update a position description, or PD. A position description is required for every civil service employee on the Center. The position description is essentially a pay document which describes the major duties, responsibilities, and organizational relationships of the position. It also serves as the official record of the classification of the job, which categorizes, measures, and assigns a grade to the significant elements of the position.

When preparing a position description, only the major duties and other important aspects of the position that may affect its classification should be described. Major duties are defined as those that occupy a significant portion of the employee's time. They should include only those duties that are currently assigned, observable, identified with the position's purpose and organization, and expected to continue on a regular basis over a period of time. Because minor duties can change frequently and normally do not affect the classification of the position, it is generally not necessary to mention them in the position description. At LaRC, many position descriptions have not been reviewed in some time. For example, employees may have changed job functions, but their position descriptions have not been updated to reflect that change. In other cases, events such as the Center Reorganization resulted in employees performing different duties in their new organization, without updates to their position descriptions.

To ensure that every employee has a current position description that accurately describes the tasks being performed, the Office of Human Capital Management (OHCM) is preparing for a Centerwide review of position descriptions. Due to the volume of work that needs to be performed, OHCM will augment its existing staff with classifiers from the Office of Personnel Management. The review team will work with supervisors to update required position information using a template format. The information provided on the template will be used to generate new position descriptions and/or revise and certify existing position descriptions. Positions originally classified under the Research & Development Classification Process (RDCP) will also be reviewed. The review will be based upon criteria that will be established for the upcoming RDCP session. This approach will ensure that all RDCP position descriptions are consistent and contain the information required by OPM standards. The Position Description Update Project, dubbed "PD-UP", is scheduled to begin in early May. OHCM will begin working with supervisors and provide additional information to employees about the process in the next few weeks.


Leah M. Meisel
Director, Office of Human Capital Management

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