Chris, some thoughts from someone who has had (way too much) experience
navigating the murky waters of personnel classification.  Apologies in
advance is this sounds like a lecture. I hope you find something helpful.

While job titles and generic post descriptions can be helpful in
establishing a certain frame, you will be best prepared if you focus on
organization specific needs in terms of job functions, competencies,
accountabilities, scope of decision making, degree of independence, rank and
responsibilities of direct contacts, nature of those contacts (giving
advice, following direction, etc.).  These considerations guide the
requirements for education, experience and demonstrable skills.  Your
existing hierarchy is an important consideration, as is the availability of
people who can slip into the post as envisioned.

Brief examples to illustrate the importance of local context:
 - lacking any local education or program that would produce candidates for
a forms analyst/designer position, I worked with personnel to create a
trainee position that bridged an entry level clerical grade to a grade
equivalent to supervisor, positioning the incumbent for future posts in the
systems analyst grade.

 - in a service area prone to traveling executives, union challenges,
diverse multimedia  systems and no focal point for access or central
accountability for management, I was able to convince the organization to
create a non-union, management level position accountable for managing
recorded information.

 - faced with a perception that records was either about IT or about files,
I justified the view that records management was actually about optimizing
the investment made in containers of meaning and the systems that enable or
inhibit effectiveness as well as knowledge capital required for
organizational success.  Over several years, the former box storage function
evolved to a staff function serving top executive with involvement in all
systems projects, policy projects, customer interface projects, mergers and
acquisitions, including a comprehensive range of RM functions. 

 - and because one is not always successful at this, I'll also mention a
case in an environment in which complementary but distinct professional
domains were antagonistic toward each other. I created a new office to bring
together common skills and different perspectives on the thorny challenge of
electronic  management of multimedia records. New titles, descriptions,
structural realignment of an entire Service.  A particular group continues
to focus negatively rather than positively and has even gone public
contributing to a study declaring that a focus on e-records is a waste of
time.  Go figure. This is the joy of life in organizations.

Point is, it is critical that your team have credibility and be worthy of
the respect of others in your organization--above and below.  Focus on the
functions - the titles will reveal themselves because you'll develop ones
that are descriptive and effective in communicating what you want/need to be
communicated within your own organization.  Think about development of the
role, career progression, opportunity (and entry points) for new blood to
come into the program.  Find out what prejudices already exist, what openess
there may be and from what angle(s). If you have a Equal Work Action
Committee of equivalent, find out how comparisons are made across job types
and gender delineation.  (I was successful in upgrading several female staff
by focusing on their job function, classified elsewhere at a higher level
for use of judgment. And, a male staff  penalized by association with
"files" was reclassified in recognition of comparisons to warehousemen in
our forms management unit.) Refer to as many titles and descriptions as you
can to gain a foundation for doing original work that will leverage the
knowledge you gain from looking at others.  It is very hard for an
organization to shoot down what is truly representative of its own need and
which is justifiable on its own terms.

Good luck!  Have fun ;-)


John James O'Brien, BA, CRM, MALT
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Partner & Managing Director, IRM Strategies
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Associate Partner, S4K Research AB
Stockholm, Sweden
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