[IPAC-List] What does time in job get you?

Blair, Michael D[EQ] Michael.D.Blair at Embarq.com
Thu May 7 14:49:33 EDT 2009

Mark -

In the private sector, time in current job as an eligibility requirement to apply for a another job, is typically done for practical business reasons. It takes time, resources, etc., to recruit, hire, and train new hires. Post-hire/training, there is time to reach full-performance level. Businesses want/need employees to operate at full performance level for a period of time in order to recoup these costs.

I've seen current job time legibility requirements ranging from 6 months to 2 years (as well as no requirement) with 12 months being the most common. Often, the current manager can waive the requirement upon request. When dealing with in-family promotions (e.g., Analyst I to Analyst II), there is typically no such requirement.

Back in my civil service days, I worked for two different organizations that required employees to complete a probation period before being eligible to bid on other positions. The probation period was 12 months. When I inquired as to the logic/justification for this requirement, no one could point to one other than historical precedent and the civil service rules.

Michael D. Blair
Manager, Recruitment, Selection & Assessment
Voice: 913-345-6334 | Cell: 913-832-6130 | Fax: 913-345-6417
Email: Michael.D.Blair at embarq.com
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-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Mark Hammer
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 9:44 AM
To: IPAC-List at ipacweb.org
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] What does time in job get you?

Thanks for those links. The MSPB article makes oblique note of the content of the fedsmith article without referring to it specifically.

My query is essentially whether the value added by time-in-grade can be substituted for by something such that whatever it was the time-in-grade provided (with respect to candidate quality) need not be absent while one takes advantage of whatever removing the requirement adds to staffing effectiveness, fairness, efficiency, or whatever.

Clearly, based on the fedsmith information, federal employees are not so in love with the idea of lifting TIG. So what do they think they are forfeiting? Based on some comments, fairness or objectivity in selection. So, what could achieve the fairness they think is being lost without imposing burden on the employer?

...or is this something that falls more into the staffing policy court rather than the assessment and selection court?


>>> Lance Seberhagen <sebe at erols.com> 2009/05/07 10:35 am >>>

Time-in-grade requirements are reasonably job-related minimum qualifications for advancement, and they provide some budget control and organizational stability. Here are some other comments.


Lance Seberhagen, Ph.D.
Seberhagen & Associates
9021 Trailridge Ct
Vienna, VA 22182
Tel 703-790-0796

Mark Hammer wrote:

The current issue of the merit Systems Protection Board's "Issues of Merit" newsletter ( http://www.mspb.gov/sites/mspb/pages/MSPB%20Studies.aspx ) notes that as of May 18, the Office of Personnel Management will be eliminating "time-in-grade" requirements for promotions within the federal PS. The same article also points out that the necessity of serving 52 or more weeks "in grade" is but one of the multiple qualifications a candidate needed to meet to be eligible for a promotion, so dropping it does not necessarily diminish the stringency with which promotions are handed out.

At the same time, time spent in grade is/was there for some kind of cogent reason. So I'm wondering, what is it that folks think a year's time in-grade gives an employee, and is there a valid, feasible, and economic way to measure it such that dropping the 52-week requirement does not totally eliminate what it was that people thought it was adding to the mix? Is a year on the job something one ought to assess with a knowledge test? Is it a marker of dependability, hence replaceable with a conscientiousness inventory? Or is it simply a way to impose some stability on the organization (i.e., less hopscotching about by staff), with nothing to do regarding candidate quality? What is it that people think they're getting if someone has been on the job for at least a year (more accurately, in any job within the same pay grade) within the broader organization (or same system)?

Are there any other jurisdictions that have time-in-job/at-level requirements analogous to this, and what is the rationale for their existence, continuance, deletion?

If anyone has any additional expertise on the specific requirement, and the accompanying policy change, I'd be interested to know more.

Mark Hammer

IPAC-List at ipacweb.org

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