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Job Classification Procedure

Section 400, Proc. 430
Related Policy: HR0165 – Title Lists, HR0410 – Adjustment of Salary Ranges
Related Forms: Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ)
Effective: 3/8/08


To provide procedures to ensure that staff positions are classified within the established job evaluation plan.

Who is affected:

All staff positions.


1. Job Classification Purpose

Job classification is a systemic method of assigning value to individual positions to develop a job worth hierarchy. Its purpose is to determine a position’s relative size within the hierarchy. It is a formal and systematic comparison of jobs to determine the size of one job relative to another. The basic procedure is to compare the job content of each job in relation to one another by determining the amount of skill, effort, and responsibilities that is inherent within each job.

2. Job Classification Goals

  • One classification program for staff members across the state;
  • Standardize classification criteria; and
  • Consistent evaluation of jobs throughout the university.

3. Job Classification Content

The university classification program uses the job factor method. The job factor method breaks each job down into a number of compensable factors, ranks the factors as to their importance, assigns points to each factor based on the amount of each factor found in the job, then totals the points for all the factors to determine its size. The factors used in the current classification program are know-how, problem-solving, and accountability.

4. Job Classification Process

Each staff position within the Knoxville Area should have Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) on file with Human Resources–Compensation. This questionnaire describes the responsibilities, scope, and reporting structure surrounding the position. The PDQ is used to evaluate the position by assessing the amount of know-how, problem-solving, and accountability that is required by the position. The definitions of these three evaluation factors are as follows

  • Know-How: The sum total for every kind of skill, however acquired, needed for acceptable job performance.
  • Problem-Solving: The original “self-starting” thinking required by the job for analyzing, evaluating, creating, reasoning, arriving at and making conclusions. To the extent that thinking is circumscribed by standards, covered by precedents, or referred to others, problem solving is diminished and emphasis is on know-how.
  • Accountability: The answerability for an action and any resulting consequences. It is the measured effect of the job on end results.

Each position is evaluated based on the above factors. Each factor evaluation results in a point value. The points for all three factors are totaled and the job classification is determined with the following attributes:

  • Job Title: Describes in a general way a group of similar positions at the same level of responsibility. Refer to Policy/Procedure HRO165-Title Lists.
  • Job Family: This is the broadest of the terms and consists of various jobs involving work of the same nature but requiring different levels of skill and responsibility. Refer to Policy/Procedure HRO165-Title Lists.
  • Pay Grade: All staff positions are assigned a pay grade according to the job evaluation. Refer to Policy/Procedure HRO410-Adjustments of Salary Ranges.

5. Statewide Standard Cyclical Job Review

The University of Tennessee embarked on a program of a five year cycle of reviewing all regular positions statewide. Every regular staff employee will have the opportunity to attend PDQ training, update his/her PDQ; and to have his/her PDQ reviewed by the HR Statewide Review Committee. Refer to Compensation for the current schedule of the Statewide Standard Cyclical Job Reviews.

6. Additional Reasons for Job Evaluations

Evaluations may be conducted outside the Statewide Standard Cyclical Job Reviews for the following reasons:

  • Creation of New Staff Positions
  • Reorganization (requires explanation)
  • Vacant Positions

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