Case Study:  Competitive Level Coding

OPM’s regulations at 5 CFR 351.403 require each agency to establish competitive levels consisting of all positions in a competitive area which are in the same grade (or occupational level) and classification series, and which are similar enough in duties, qualification requirements, pay schedules, and working conditions so that an agency may reassign the incumbent of one position to any of the other positions in the level without undue interruption.

Competitive level codes are critical, specifically to reduction in force (RIF) procedures.  However, in many agencies, they also tend to be neglected, overlooked and left to fall into a state of disrepair.  Lindholm has conducted numerous updates for agencies in which competitive level codes were badly in need of updating.  As examples, an organization wide review at NASA identified a need to migrate all jobs to a new electronic PD and classification system.  At CFPB, a flexible, up-to-date, and accurate classification tracker was deployed.  At FMCSA, all agency competitive level codes were overhauled and updated.  And at the Department of State, a PD library and competitive level coding system were stood up simultaneously. 

And while there are companies which claim to be capable of updating codes, Lindholm has the unique distinction of an unparalleled understanding of how position descriptions link to competitive level codes and how these codes are utilized in RIFs.  In many cases, members of the Lindholm team of consultants worked at OPM where they managed served as policy leads on Federal classification, RIF, and position management regulations.  Multiple Lindholm consultants served in the Office of Personnel Management’s Workforce Restructuring Office which was responsible for establishing and promoting policies and practices governing competitive level codes, RIF, restructuring, downsizing, and position management.  In fact, Lindholm’s President formerly served as the Associate Director for Employment Services, under which the Workforce Restructuring Office and its policies was housed, and the former Director of the Workforce Restructuring Office also serves as a Lindholm Associate.

In prior consulting engagements, Lindholm built a unique competitive level coding tool for use in client engagements (including at the Department of Labor, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).  This allowed Lindholm to review large numbers of agency PDs to determine competitive levels quickly.  Moreover, beyond simply coding PDs, Lindholm recognized that every individual employee personnel and payroll record would also need to be updated to link the employee to the correct competitive level code, or the process of coding PDs would be pointless.  Lindholm developed a completely seamless updating process to push changes to the agency personnel and payroll systems to flash-update all agency records.


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