Level and Step placement guide

 

IC levels

Individual Contributor Job Level Chart

Source: Radford
Level:
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Level 6
 
Entry
Developing
Career
Advanced
Expert
Principal
Analogy:
Learning about rope
-Can tie basic knots 
-Participates as others tie complex knots 
-Ties complex knots
-Calculates rope strength 
-Knows a lot about knots
Understands rope making
Knows more about rope than anyone else at the company
Knows more about rope than anyone else, period.
Knowledge
Learns to use professional concepts. Applies company policies and procedures to resolve routine issues.
Developing professional expertise, applies company policies and procedures to resolve a variety of issues.  
A full understanding of area; resolves a wide range of issues in creative ways. 
Has wide-ranging experience, uses professional concepts and company objectives to resolve complex issues in creative and effective ways. 
Has broad expertise or unique knowledge, uses skills to contribute to development of company objectives and principles and to achieve goals in creative and effective ways. 
Expert in the field, uses professional concepts in developing resolution to critical issues and broad design matters. 
Job Complexity
Works on problems of limited scope. Follows standard practices and procedures. Builds stable working relationships internally.
Works on problems of moderate scope where analysis of situations or data requires a review of a variety of factors. Exercises judgment within defined procedures and practices to determine appropriate action.  
Works on problems of diverse scope where analysis of data requires evaluation of identifiable factors. Demonstrates good judgment in selecting methods and techniques for obtaining solutions. 
Works on complex issues where analysis of situations or data requires an in-depth evaluation of variable factors. Exercises judgment in selecting methods, techniques and evaluation criteria for obtaining results. 
Works on significant and unique issues where analysis of situations or data requires an evaluation of intangibles. Exercises independent judgment in methods, techniques and evaluation criteria for obtaining results. 
Works on issues that impact design/selling success or address future concepts, products or technologies. 
Supervision
Normally receives detailed instructions on all work.
Normally receives general instructions on routine work, detailed instructions on new projects or assignments.
Normally receives little instruction on day-to-day work, general instructions on new assignments.
Determines methods and procedures on new assignments and may coordinate activities of other personnel.
Acts independently to determine methods and procedures on new or special assignments. May supervise the activities of others.
Exercises wide latitude in determining objectives and approaches to critical assignments.   

Individual Contributor Step Placement Chart

Level
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Level 1 Entry

Ownership: No ownership, receives instructions on nearly all tasks

Initiative: None expected, does work as directed
Ownership: Little ownership, receives instructions on most tasks

Initiative: Little, expected, does work as directed
Ownership: Some ownership, receives instructions on some tasks

Initiative: Beginning to take initiative through asking questions and learning
Ownership: Increasing ownership, can work independently on many tasks. 

Initiative: Increasing initiative through asking targeted questions 
Level 2
Developing
Ownership: Works on individual tasks mostly independently

Initiative: Begins deeper questioning of processes in order to improve them
Ownership: Works on individual tasks completely independently

Initiative: Deep questioning of processes; begins to suggest improvements and tweaks
Ownership: Mastering ability to break down projects into tasks; co-owns projects with strong guidance

Initiative: Takes initiative through iterating on existing processes 
Ownership: Co-owns projects and owns pieces of larger projects with decreasing guidance

Initiative: Takes initiative through iterating on existing processes 
Level 3
Career
Ownership: Co-owns projects and owns pieces of larger projects in their area completely

Initiative: Makes good decisions within their scope without seeking consensus
Ownership: Fully owns projects in their area with guidance

Initiative: Makes good decisions within their scope without seeking consensus


Ownership: Fully owns projects in their area with decreasing guidance


Initiative: Takes initiative through identifying gaps and opportunities 
Ownership: Fully owns projects in their area completely

Initiative: Takes initiative through identifying gaps and opportunities 
Level 4
Advanced
Ownership: Works independently and owns projects entirely, both in their area and cross-functionally

Initiative: Gives guidance and unblocks others; finds opportunities to mentor and grow teammates

Ownership: Sought out as a mentor and known as the “teammate of record” in their subject area

Initiative: Gives guidance and unblocks others; finds opportunities to mentor and grow teammates
Ownership: Identifies and proactively tackles major challenges and problems in their area

Initiative: Shows discretion in delegating tasks and focusing on higher level 
Ownership: Leads adoption of new systems/tools/methodologies in their area

Initiative: Shows discretion in delegating tasks and focusing on higher level 
Level 5
Expert
Ownership: Conceives and own projects entirely, both in their area and cross-functionally. Regularly scopes and stages work into well-defined milestones

Initiative: Reduces the complexity of projects/services/processes in order to get more done with less work
Ownership: Demonstrates knowledge of industry trends; researches and leads adoption of new approaches in their area

Initiative: Reduces the complexity of projects/services/processes in order to get more done with less work 
Ownership: Involved in setting direction at area level

Initiative: Takes initiative to identify and solve important problems, often coordinating cross-functionally
Ownership: Involved in setting direction at area level

Initiative: Takes initiative to identify and solve important problems, often coordinating cross-functionally
Level 6
Principal
Ownership: Drives projects on which multiple teams depend

Initiative: Routinely and consistently pushes multiple teams within the company forward.
Ownership: As subject matter expert, plays a key role in developing overall company strategy

Initiative: Drives the conversation about their area’s direction, drives team-wide consensus to adopt direction


Ownership: Decisions have a direct impact on the long-term success of Buffer

Initiative: Identifies major strategic opportunities to allow Buffer to grow as a business
Ownership: Leads the company in developing direction in major areas

Initiative: Identifies and acts on major strategic opportunities to allow Buffer to grow as a business

 

People leader levels

People Leader Job Level Chart

Source: Radford
Job Level:
Level 1
 Title:
Lead/Manager 1
Analogy:
Guides team while rock climbing
(Skills/training needed, risk-taking support systems in place)
Scope
Receives assignments in the form of objectives with goals and the process by which to meet goals. Provides direction to employees according to established policies and management guidance. Administers company policies that directly affect subordinate employees. Recommends changes to unit or sub-unit policies. Management reviews work to measure meeting of objectives.