Myth-busting Classification

December 14, 2020 - Defence Stories

Have you ever wondered how your job is classified? Classification evaluates the characteristics of your position in relation to the other positions in your organization. Now, let’s bust some common classification myths!

Myth 1: Classification measures performance.

Example: Tom is an exceptional employee and consistently outperforms his colleagues who perform the same job in a different area of the public service.

Question: Is it time for a reclassification of Tom’s position?

Answer: This is false! If you’re in a position, it can’t be reclassified to a higher level simply because you’re doing a good job. Why? Classification refers to the “value” of the duties assigned to the position, not to the “value” of the employee in the position. If Tom has become highly skilled at his job, perhaps it’s a good time for him to look for a new opportunity that will challenge him or better reflect his skills.

Myth 2: Classification is based on your skills.

Example: Diane is a writer and works in communications. She is also an exceptional analyst and can work with statistics, prepare spreadsheets, charts, and graphs. Diane’s boss love her reports and others in the section have found that the data is useful and contributes to efficiency.

Question: Should analytics now be part of Diane’s job? Is it time to reclassify the position?

Answer: This is false! Specific skills are required for each position. An employee may have a special skill that’s not necessarily needed for that position, but the work cannot be dependent on the employee who occupies the position.

If the manager decides that statistical analytics is important to the functioning of the work unit, then perhaps it’s time to create a new job and select a standardized job description (SJD) that reflects that work. The task could be part of the job, but it has to make sense in terms of the flow of work in the section, not Diane’s unique skills. If Diane leaves the job, the work will remain constant, Diane will have to be replaced with someone who has these skills.

Myth 3: Classification is related to being busy.

Example: Claude and David are both GL aircraft maintenance specialists doing the same job. Claude works in Bagotville and David is in Winnipeg. There’s an increased training schedule which has create a staff shortage in Winnipeg, so David is working long hours at an above average pace.

Question: Should David be classified higher than Claude?

Answer: You guessed it; this one is also false! Positions are classified based on the nature of their duties and responsibilities, not volume of work. Just because one employee is working under different circumstances than another and is working beyond a normal pace is not justification to re-classify David to a higher level. Both employees have the same duties, the same responsibilities, so their pay and classifications must remain the same.

Volume of work and number of hours have nothing to do with the classification.  The best tool to use is overtime to compensate David and even an Instant Award or Bravo Zulu.

For more information, read the Classification 101 handbook (accessible only on the National Defence network) or contact E-Class.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: