Washington Management Service (WMS)


Washington Management Service (WMS) is a decentralized personnel system established separately for civil service managers in state government. Agencies have delegated authority under the law to create management positions. It recognizes the unique nature of management positions and the importance of strong management skills to effective state government.

Washington State's HR Management Performance and Accountability Plan sets standard performance measures for statewide workforce management. In the plan is a measure for the WMS headcount to remain at or below 7.5% of the overall workforce.

To meet the states 7.5% goal, each agency is limited to the number of WMS employees by an agency control point established in July 2007. The control point is the percentage of the agency WMS staff to total agency staff.


Allocation decisions are made by DES WMS BP banding committee. The WMS BP banding committee determines whether the position meets the definition of manager outlined in RCW 41.06.500 and WAC 357-58-035. The WMS BP banding committee is trained to apply clearly defined criteria used to evaluate the work of a position captured in the WMS position description (PD).

Definition of a manager:

  • Formulates statewide policy or directs the work of an agency or agency subdivision;
  • Is responsible to administer one or more statewide policies or programs of an agency or agency subdivision;
  • Manages, administers, and controls a local branch office of an agency or agency subdivision, including the physical, financial, or personnel resources;
  • Has substantial responsibility in personnel administration, legislative relations, public information, or the preparation and administration of budgets; OR
  • Functionally is above the first level of supervision and exercises authority that is not merely routine or clerical in nature and requires the consistent use of independent judgment.
Establishment and Rebanding

To establish or reband a WMS position, begin the process by working with your assigned HR Business Partner (HR BP) and by writing the position description on the WMS PD. Your HR BP will assist you in identifying the necessary forms to complete and submit to the WMS Banding committee. Once the forms have been submitted to the WMS BP banding committee, your assigned HR BP will help serve as a guide through the WMS position process.


All positions are “broadbanded” or grouped into broad salary range categories known as WMS Bands. Management bands are a series of management levels composed of a salary minimum and maximum dollar level.

Placement in a band reflects the:

  • Nature of management
  • Decision-making environment and policy impact
  • Scope of management accountability
  • Control assigned to the position

Within the salary limits of the band, agencies will use a variety of tools such as the job value assessment chart and the market segment allocation to determine the specific salary range for the employee and/or position.
Agencies have flexibility to:

  • Adjust salaries to reflect changes in the position’s responsibilities,
  • Meet documented recruitment and/or retention problems,
  • Resolve documented internal salary relationship problems, and
  • Recognize an employee’s demonstrated growth and development.

In accordance with WAC 357-58-100, salary increase initiated by the agency will normally will not exceed 25% during the tenure of an employee’s appointment in the WMS position as long as the position’s duties are unchanged or would not evaluate higher if new duties were assigned.


If this is your first WMS position, State HR must review your WMS Salary Administration policy per WAC 357-58-075. In accordance with WAC 357-58-180 and WAC 357-58-185, agencies must have a WMS Recruitment and Retention policy along with a WMS Recruitment and Selection policy. It is recommended to have State HR review those policies when they are reviewing the Salary Administration policy, but it is not required.

If you have any questions, please contact your HR Business Partner.