Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions
Q What information was used to benchmark positions and what can we do if that information is outdated?
We used current job descriptions to benchmark and map positions into the new structure. If a job description is outdated, the Hiring Manager will be able to submit revisions after we complete the transition to the new structure. It is important to understand that the comparison with market is based on the primary focus of the job and changing job titles, updating individual responsibilities, adjusting education/experience requirements in general will not impact the placement using market data.
Mercer helped us to define perimeters to ensure that we were looking at comparable institutions. Those perimeters were operating expenses, student enrollment, geography, and affiliation. We used both primary and secondary comparison groups (which together totaled 105 similar institutions) to ensure we had adequate data.
Longevity is not a specific factor in the new system. The new system is looking at the market along with an employee’s ownership and impact in their role. However, tenure in role helps to build an employee’s ability to have high levels of ownership and impact, in many cases, so it can play into the overall picture.
Increases will depend on both the market and skill matrix (an employee’s ownership and impact in their role). First, the role is placed in a grade based on market review and relationships between positions. Then, departmental leadership reviewed the initial placement and provided feedback on refinements to the placements. Finally, HR reviewed the feedback across the institution and finalized the placements.
To set the rate of pay within the grade, the individual’s position in the skill matrix was determined. If someone was currently making more than the amount derived by this process they did not get an increase this year. As the market moves over time we would likely see it catch up to those rates and at some point increases would resume.
VP’s, and other leaders supporting the process, had the opportunity to review and validate the proposed grade for each role within their area and to provide additional market data sources.
Please connect with your management team to learn more about how the skill matrix was applied. The responsibility for the assessment lies with the management team and there should be a discussion with the staff member about their placement. If you manager is not clear on the process please have them connect with your department leadership team.
Q Do my past annual performance summaries factor in to the new structure or will there be any adjustments based upon those?
Past annual performance summaries are not a factor in the new structure nor will there be adjustments based upon past performance. Future salaries will depend solely on the market and skill matrix. If someone will not receive an increase it is simply that an increase is not warranted given our programs focus on market and career progression. As the market moves over time we would likely see it catch up to those rates and at some point increases would resume.
Q Now that I know where my position falls on the new compensation structure, where can I find definitions or descriptions of each grade?
The grades are defined by the market, which means what similar employers are paying for similar roles. This is a different approach then our former system that had a framework based on the job content. Because of this, there are no ‘definitions’ across the board.
We’ve never had a specific COLA raise; we have had across-the-board increases based upon our available compensation budget. The new structure will use labor market data that captures a number of market pressures and dynamics but does not explicitly include COLA broken out in any way across the board.
We are committed to raising the base pay for staff in entry level positions. It was an important choice to raise the hiring minimums of both grades 1 and 2 to the same level in order to support economic stability, increased loyalty and retention. We have kept the structure with the two grades because in future the market may move separately. We will still complete the analysis for role and place into grade 1 and 2 separately, but then we have increased both of them higher than the market. Please see the table that shows the original market data for grade 1 and 2 and you will see that both are higher than they would normally be. This reflects our commitment to increasing beyond market for entry level positions to ensure that we are paying fair and competitive wages.
No, there is a significant amount of information that has been analyzed along with the collaboration with managers and leaders then the institutional review which resulted in the grade placement. Sharing that full data set would not tell the full story of how grades were set. We shared details in the March materials about the Mercer study, in case you haven’t seen that yet.
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