State of Alaska, Department of Administration, Division of Personnel and Labor Relations

Classification: Work Changes

This page focuses on assisting you with situations that you might encounter and questions or concerns that you might have about changes in the work of positions or job classes in your department, division, unit, and staff. Within the following you will find information and guidance on the role of Classification in personnel administration and dealing with various issues related to changes in work. Some of your own questions or concerns may lead you elsewhere within our site. However, we may also be able to address them here. We encourage you to investigate all of the prospective questions and concerns, even if at first glance they don't initially appear to cover yours.

How does Classification measure changes in our work?

Work changes are a part of workforce dynamics. For example, advances in information technology, decreased budgets, new legislation, workforce turnover, or streamlined and improved processes and procedures may or may not have a measureable net effect on the work assigned a position or positions in your department, division, work unit, or individual staff.

Recognizing and describing work change is part of a workforce development continuum. As a manager or supervisor, your skill in recognizing and describing the degree to which work changes are present in your department, division, or work unit is important to managing the individual positions or groups of positions that are performing the work necessary to fulfill the mission of your department. The more accurately you are able to describe the degree to which the work has changed, the better suited our staff will be in assisting you with your personnel management.

In order to aid managers and supervisors in the discovery of work change as well as the design and maintenance of subordinate positions, the work changes spectrum is a simple but effective tool designed to identify to what degree the changes in work align. The scale is a starting point from which decisions may be made as to when and how to engage our division's various human resource functions including, Classification, the appropriate HR staff serving your department, Recruitment, Payroll, Training and Development, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Program.

In ascending order of impact, the primary increments of change on the spectrum are:

  • No Change, which is fairly self-explanatory.
  • Moderate Change, which typically occurs when:
    • Work flow, processes, and staffing have changed to spread the work among fewer/more positions;
    • The workload has changed due to more people/businesses being served or staffing changes;
    • The work has changed due to changes in technology (e.g., web-based forms and processes, computer accessible information, remote access and entry of information);
    • The work has changed due to changes in regulations (e.g., new steps required in process, additional criteria must be applied, reports must be made to additional regulatory bodies); or,
    • Reporting relationships have changed due to increased/decreased levels in the organizational hierarchy.

    These are typically changes to the duties and responsibilities of positions in a unit that could alter their allocation within the existing class structure, but are not so great that they alter the defining characteristics of a job class, dictate changing the boundaries between levels in a class series, or mandate creating a new job class for a previously unrecognized body of work.

  • Significant Change, which typically occurs when:
    • A statutory change establishes a licensing requirement to perform the work that distinguishes a job class;
    • An organization and workflow change creates a new level of hierarchical authority and responsibility that does not fit into the existing class structure; or,
    • A change in workflow and work processes change requires that one or more positions perform work that is new to the unit to efficiently complement the existing positions.

    These are typically changes to the nature, type, or level of the work of a group of positions that would alter the defining characteristics of a job class, dictate changing the boundaries between job classes, or mandate creating a new job class for a previously unrecognized body of work.

  • Fundamental Change, which typically occurs when changes in the nature, type, or level of work are such that the competencies of current employees and the knowledge, skills, and minimum qualifications of their current job classes are no longer adequate to perform the required duties. This would typically require new employees and job classes.

    We realize that the work changes particular to your department, division, or work unit may not be described within (or may fall between) the defined degrees of work changes spectrum, so we encourage you to continue to explore the remainder of this and the other pages and assorted links.

How do you account for the impact that computers have had on the workplace? As a result of our division's initiative to provide online services we're doing more work with fewer people who now also have to learn and utilize a new computing system.

As presented, this scenario describes changes in work as a result of changes in technology (e.g., web-based forms and processes, computer accessible information, remote access and entry of information), which has subsequently increased workloads, possibly altered processes, and required additional training for staff that is consistent with a Moderate Change. There is no indication that there are changes in the organization's structure and hierarchy that may require altering the definitions and distinguishing characteristics of existing job classes or creating new classes. The most-likely level of training required for staff to use the new online portal and processing system appears to be limited only to operation of the new system and does not alter the overall knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for employees to perform their core duties and tasks.

You may also reference the Training Changes page for further assistance on this topic.

Here's my situation: the legislature has approved funding for the additional positions required to reorganize several work units within my department. What impact(s) should I expect if I am increasing and reorganizing my staff in order to meet increased service demands?

As presented, this scenario indicates that work will be spread among more staff in restructured work units in order to meet an increase in demands for your department's or division's core services. This could indicate a Moderate Change in that there may be changes to staffing, workload, and potential reporting relationships due to organization restructuring.

Typically, these are changes in the duties and responsibilities of positions in a unit that could alter their allocation within the existing class structure, but are not so great that they alter the defining characteristics of a job class, dictate changing the boundaries between levels in a class series, or mandate creating a new job class for a previously unrecognized body of work.

The PDs for any positions that experience a change in supervision given or received, reporting relationships, focus or primary responsibility, or have increased or reduced duties should be updated, along with their staffing charts, and submitted for review by Individual Allocations. You should contact your appropriate Allocations Supervisor for more information and coordination of this process.

While reviewing the duties and responsibilities assigned to some of the positions in the units that I am reorganizing, I discovered that the minimum qualifications for the associated job classes do not reflect the certification now typically identified as industry standard qualifications. How will this fact change the impact(s) I should expect if I am increasing and reorganizing my staff in order to meet increased service demands?

Based upon the information provided, there appear to be no changes to workload, workflow, processes, technology, regulations, or reporting relationships. With the exception of the question of the certifications, there appears to be no factors warranting reallocation of any positions; amendment to the definitions, distinguishing characteristics, or competencies of any existing job classes; or creation of new job classes. Therefore, the scope of work change and actions required to address this specific scenario will depend upon the circumstances determining the need for certification.

It will have to be determined if the certification is a desired or required qualification. Quickly:

  • Desired qualifications are preferred behavioral characteristics, strengths, skills, knowledge, and relevant experience, etc, which demonstrate that an applicant or employee has the ideal qualifications for an office, position, or task.
  • Required qualifications are those that are reasonably necessary for the normal performance of the duties of a particular occupation and are typically defined by statute and/or regulation.

If there is no regulatory requirement for the certification, the assessment is that there is most likely No Change to the overall work and you may need to consider updating your Staff's PDs to reflect any changes in duties, which were not otherwise disclosed, for review by Individual Allocations. You should contact your appropriate Allocations Supervisor for more information and coordination of this process.

If the certification is a regulatory requirement, you are possibly looking at a Significant Change in work and should consult with Classification Studies. To request such a consultation, the first person to ask is your supervisor to ensure that you have departmental approval to pursue this option. You should also contact your appropriate Management Services Consultant.

Your Division Director (or appropriate delegate) should submit an email to:

  1. The Classification Section; and, carbon copies to,
  2. Your department's Administrative Services Director (if submitted by a delegate, please also cc your Division Director); and,
  3. The appropriate HR staff serving your department.

This email should include:

  1. A description of the specific aspects of the work that appear to be no longer appropriate to the existing class structures and why.
  2. The job class(es) impacted by the change or concern.
  3. The PCNs of all impacted positions.
  4. Details regarding pertinent prior recruitment efforts (e.g., scope and duration, number of applicants, disposition of applicants, and hires made), ongoing training efforts, turnover, and non-retention, etc.
  5. Any solutions proposed by your department.
  6. Any additional agencies who utilize the impacted job class(es).
  7. Your department's designated contact for this request.

You may also reference the Licensing Changes page for further assistance on this scenario.

Here's my situation: a portion of federal funding has been cut from my program's budget. As a result, I will have to make do with less funding and I have had to lay off one employee and spread those work assignments among the remaining clerical positions in the unit. How might this action impact my staff?

As presented, this scenario indicates that the workload is increasing for your staff as more work is spread among fewer staff. This change would align to the lower end of a Moderate Change within the spectrum. By itself, an increased workload is not a considerable factor in reallocating a position, let alone changing the definitions or distinguishing characteristics of job classes or creating new classes.

I have a peak performer, to whom I'm assigning the most critical clerical tasks as I spread work assignments among the remaining clerical positions in my unit. Who should I consult with about this?

First of all, please remember that Classification examines the duties and responsibilities assigned to the position and not the capabilities of the current incumbent. In a nutshell, when assessing a position, you need to assess whether the same assignments will continue across multiple incumbents.

If the position is assigned new regular and recurring duties and responsibilities, supervisory responsibility, or otherwise experiences a change in reporting relationships, the PD should be updated and reviewed by Individual Allocations. You should contact your appropriate Allocations Supervisor for more information and coordination of this process.

My division receives the majority of funding for its mission from the federal government. Every year there is an increase in the number and complexity of federal regulations that my staff is required to interpret and apply in order to do their jobs. How can we account for this in the classification of their positions?

As presented, this scenario is consistent with a Moderate Change in that changes in regulations possibly equate to new steps being required in regular processes, additional criteria must be applied in making determinations, reports must be made to additional regulatory bodies, etc. Such changes in duties and responsibilities could alter the allocation of positions in a unit, but are not so great as to alter the defining characteristics of a job class, dictate changing the boundaries between levels in a class series, or mandate creating a new job class for a previously unrecognized body of work.

To be forward for a moment, regulations are a core fact of professional life for any public service employee and, as state and local governments depend on federal funding more and more, they are more susceptible to the seemingly capricious nature of another's regulatory body. It is a situation that is shared by all.

That said, if any employee (or group of employees, for that matter) is performing duties that none of his/her coworkers in the same job class are performing then this indicates that the PD(s) should be updated and reviewed by Classification.

You may also reference the Regulation Changes page for further assistance on this topic.

Here's my situation: the federal government passed legislation requiring the states to develop new regulatory and reporting procedures and processes for a program in our department. Our ability to accurately and timely conduct business and regularly report out is critical to receiving federal funds. We have been anticipating this new legislation for several years and currently have several positions already performing the new work assignments but they appear to perform a new layer of work that is somewhere between our line positions and full supervisors. I believe this to be a new body of work as I have looked through the job class specifications on Workplace Alaska and found nothing comparable. Who do I contact to assist me with my needs?

As presented, this scenario describes how the promulgation of new regulations may result in the development of a body of work that requires a new job class consistent with a Significant Change in work and you should seek a consultation with Classification Studies.

To request such a consultation, the first person to ask is your supervisor to ensure that you have departmental approval to pursue this option. You should also contact the appropriate HR staff serving your department.

Your Division Director (or appropriate delegate) should submit an email to:

  1. The Classification Section; and, carbon copies to,
  2. Your department's Administrative Services Director (if submitted by a delegate, please also cc your Division Director); and,
  3. The appropriate HR staff serving your department.

This email should include:

  1. A description of the specific aspects of the work that appear to be no longer appropriate to the existing class structures and why.
  2. The job class(es) impacted by the change or concern.
  3. The PCNs of all impacted positions.
  4. Details regarding pertinent prior recruitment efforts (e.g., scope and duration, number of applicants, disposition of applicants, and hires made), ongoing training efforts, turnover, and non-retention, etc.
  5. Any solutions proposed by your department.
  6. Any additional agencies who utilize the impacted job class(es).
  7. Your department's designated contact for this request.

You may also wish to reference the Regulations Changes page for further assistance on this scenario.

Help! The federal government just passed legislation that means every professional in my section needs a certification they don't have, what do I do now?

As presented in this scenario, a change in federal mandate has determined that a specific licensure/certification is required of all employees performing a certain body or level of work. It should be noted that this scenario is similar holds true whether a change in statute or regulation adds or removes a requisite licensure/certification for a given body of work. At the very minimum, the most probable impact will be that the minimum qualifications (MQs) for the affected job class(es) will need to be amended to reflect this change in required license or certification so that they require the certification for entry into the job class This is a key step to assure that appropriately licensed or certified personnel are recruited in the future. Such amendments are conducted by Classification Studies, which is tasked with creating, maintaining, and revising job class specifications. This type of change impacts the MQs and MQ Questions but not any other part of the class concept(s).

To assess the impacts of this change, you should determine if:

  • Your current staff will require additional experience and/or education in order to meet the requirements of the new license or certification;
  • Earning and possession of this licensure or certification changes the established knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) of the positions in the job class or series;
  • Earning and possession of this licensure or certification alters the defining characteristics of the current job class or series;
  • Earning and possession of this licensure or certification indicate the need to define a class for a previously unrecognized body of work; and/or,
  • The changes create a mandatory new level of hierarchical authority that does not fit within any of the existing class structures.

If your assessment leads to "No" answers to these questions, the changes are probably only Moderate and will most-likely require an amendment to the MQs. To request a review to amend MQs, the first person to ask is your supervisor to ensure that you have departmental approval to pursue this option. You should also contact the appropriate HR staff serving your department.

Your Division Director (or appropriate delegate) should submit an email to:

  1. The Classification Section; and, carbon copies to,
  2. Your department's Administrative Services Director (if submitted by a delegate, please also cc your Division Director); and,
  3. The appropriate HR staff serving your department.

This email should include:

  1. A description of the change or concern.
  2. The job class(es) impacted by the change or concern.
  3. Any solutions proposed by your department.
  4. Any additional agencies who utilize the impacted job class(es).
  5. Your department's designated contact for this request.

Amendments to MQs typically take from one to ten business days to complete and, like other actions completed by Classification, are interactive and collaborative processes.

In addition, you should consider contacting your appropriate Recruitment staff to discuss strategies for developing effective recruitment bulletins that appropriately reflect these changes in qualifications. You may also reference the Recruitment Concerns page for further assistance on this topic.

If your assessment leads to "Yes" answers, the changes are at least Significant and a more advanced consultation with Classification Studies is necessary. A request for consultation should be made per the same procedures for requesting an MQ change. If requesting the more advanced consultation, you should also include pertinent information regarding prior recruitment efforts (e.g., scope and duration, number of applicants, disposition of applicants, and hires made), ongoing training efforts, turnover, and non-retention, etc.

You may also reference the Licensing Changes page for further assistance on this topic.

Here's my situation: advances in the communications and information technology industries continually outpace the knowledge and skills of my employees to the point that we continually have to utilize the knowledge and skills of contractors to complete projects that could otherwise be completed in-house. We have tried to recruit new personnel but the current job class specifications do not describe the scope of current work or knowledge and skills required. What do I need to do, who do I contact, and what information should I gather for assistance?

As presented, this scenario indicates that changes in the nature, type, or level of your work are such that the knowledge and skills of current employees and the competencies and minimum qualifications of their current job classes are no longer adequate to perform the required duties. This could be tentatively consistent to a Fundamental Change in work and you should seek a consultation with Classification Studies.

To request such a consultation, the first person to ask is your supervisor to ensure that you have departmental approval to pursue this option. You should also contact the appropriate HR staff serving your department.

Your Division Director (or appropriate delegate) should submit an email to:

  1. The Classification Section; and, carbon copies to,
  2. Your department's Administrative Services Director (if submitted by a delegate, please also cc your Division Director); and,
  3. The appropriate HR staff serving your department.

This email should include:

  1. A description of the specific aspects of the work that appear to be no longer appropriate to the existing class structures and why.
  2. The job class(es) impacted by the change or concern.
  3. The PCNs of all impacted positions.
  4. Details regarding pertinent prior recruitment efforts (e.g., scope and duration, number of applicants, disposition of applicants, and hires made), ongoing training efforts, turnover, and non-retention, etc.
  5. Any solutions proposed by your department.
  6. Any additional agencies who utilize the impacted job class(es).
  7. Your department's designated contact for this request.

You may also with to reference the Recruitment Concerns and Training Changes pages for further assistance on this scenario.

I wasn't able to find my particular questions and concerns here. What other options do I have?

We encourage you to continue reviewing our other pages. However, if you are either certain that your questions and concerns are not covered elsewhere, or have looked and still not found an answer, please do not hesitate to email us directly at the Classification Section.