Compensation and job families

What is a job family?
A job family is a group of jobs related by common vocations or professions. Jobs in a job family have related knowledge, skills, abilities (competencies), and other factors, that represent a career path from entry level jobs to senior executives.

Why is the university job structure changing with the HR Redesign?
The job family structure is the foundation and framework of the new HR plan. It identifies job titles and salary ranges across the university, entirely distinct from the current State classified staff pay band structure. This new structure incorporates a series of career paths that provide career advancement opportunities currently unavailable to staff and A&P faculty. Though the proposed job family structure will not immediately impact how you are compensated, it will be the basis for future salary determinations.

Who will this proposed job family structure impact?
The proposed job family structure only impacts employees in the new University and Academic Professional employee group.

How do job families relate to compensation?
Job families are how universities and other large organizations organize their jobs and meet compensation goals. Each job in a job family has a “market range,” which guides us on how to competitively compensate employees.

Why is the job family structure different than my school or department’s organizational chart?
The new job families are based on occupational areas; jobs in your school or department will fall into several of these job families. This design is intentional so that our job families can stay current even if our organizational structure changes over time.

Where does my job fall in the proposed job family structure?
Individual positions have not yet been allocated into a new title and market range. HR will work with leadership to determine the appropriate allocation of positions over the next six months (May to October 2017).  Employees will be notified of their position allocation in January 2018.

When will I officially become a University and Academic Professional? When will this job structure be effective for me?
There is a phased implementation of the new University and Academic Professional employee group:

  • January 1, 2018 for Classified Staff hired since July 1, 2016;
  • July 1, 2018 for Classified Staff who elect to become University and Academic Professional during the open enrollment period (January to March 2018); and
  • July 1, 2018 for most A&P Faculty whose positions are converted to University and Academic Professionals as part of the contract renewal process

Will my working title change?
Employees will keep their current working title; the job titles in the job family structure are used to associate a position with the appropriate market range.

What if I can’t find my position among the proposed job summaries?
The job summaries are not meant to exactly describe any one position. They are a composite of many positions.  They represent typical jobs found in the marketplace. The job summary should reflect about 70% or 80% of your duties and responsibilities.  If there is not a job summary that comes close to the work you do, give us your feedback on the webpage. 

What happens if my current salary doesn’t fall in the new market range? Does this mean I will receive a raise?
There are no salary increases associated with the adoption of the new job titles and market ranges, rather this will be the framework for future compensation related decisions. Any changes in salary are likely to happen gradually and over several years. The goal is to get all employee within the correct market range over time. This is just a starting point.

By what process will salaries be increased to their market ranges? About how long will this process take?
The proposed compensation procedures provide three ways an employee’s base pay can increase over time - merit, promotion, and career path advancement. Merit will be based on the overall rating in the performance review process. Career path advancements will come from the career development plan section of the performance review. Promotions can be either “competitive” through the current job search process or “noncompetitive” through the career development plan. Pay increases will be awarded as the budget allows. Managers will determine the size of an increase based on the employee's qualifications, experience, and their current pay relative to the appropriate market range. There would no longer be caps on salary increases as found in the state classified system.  

Are we still using recognition awards?
Yes, in the compensation section of the proposed policy, the use of salary incentives to recognize and reward employees is encouraged. The recommendation is to increase the amount of bonus an employee may be awarded in a fiscal year up to $5,000 or 10% of base pay, whichever is greater. 

Can you get more than a 10% increase in a year?
Yes you could. There are no caps on salary increases in the proposed compensation policy. It allows more flexibility for managers to work within the posted market ranges. In addition to merit and promotion increases, we anticipate the use of smaller (3-5%), more frequent salary increases as employees move through their career paths.

Under the new plan, are promotions and/or position changes limited to minimum salary posted or 15% increase? There are no caps on salary increases in the proposed compensation policy. It allows more flexibility for managers to work within the posted market ranges.

Because the emphasis seems to be shifting to merit-based increases, is there a guarantee that you will receive a raise in pay if you consistently perform at a high achiever level?
The purpose of a merit-based pay system is to reward employees for their level of performance. The plan is for managers to evaluate performance on a scale (e.g., one to five) and, accordingly, have the flexibility to offer increases within a range (e.g., zero to five percent) that correlates with the evaluations. Candidly, there are no guarantees in a “pay for performance” model, however the expectation is that over time the high performers receive higher salary increases. It is also important to note that annual salary increases are not the only reward for high performers. The new HR model will also include pre-defined career paths. High performers would also be eligible for promotional opportunities as they advance through their careers. 

How will current inequity of salaries in departments and across campus be addressed? The proposed market-based salary ranges will provide a new yardstick against which salary decisions across the university can be made and evaluated. There are two employee types impacted by the new market ranges - classified staff and A&P faculty. The current state pay bands for classified staff are too broad to provide that level of analysis. For A&P faculty, each position is evaluated as "one of a kind" so there is no framework against which to compare. The market ranges give us a new pay structure, common for both groups of employees, to help managers make better individual decisions and to help the institution better assess the impact of those decisions from a university-wide perspective. The new pay structure becomes the common measurement tool to identify the most compelling discrepancies and to prioritize the allocation of future salary increases.  

Is this proposed job family structure still being revised?
The job families, titles and market ranges are still in draft and likely to change based on input received during this review process. You are welcome to share your thoughts and ask questions here.


Career development

What’s a career path? 
The foundation of the new HR plan is a university-wide job structure that groups jobs by function using a standard set of job titles. Most titles have three levels (e.g., Accountant I, Accountant II, Accountant III). Each job title has a unique market range. Career paths provide opportunities for employees to advance through their careers by moving across the market ranges through proposed stages of emerging, proficient, accomplished and expert, as well as advancing up through the job title series as they gain competencies and experience. Career advancement in the same job is called promotion in place. There will also continue to be opportunities to receive promotions across the university. Different career tracks are designed for individual contributors with deep subject matter expertise distinct from those who aspire to a supervisory, management or leadership role.

What’s a career community? 
Career communities are how employees who are doing similar work or who have similar career interests across the university connect regularly to network, share information and determine best practices. The career development committee is designing a mentoring program with resources and support for both mentors and mentees. Career communities are the structure around which these career development opportunities will be provided in the new HR plan.

How do I get my manager to support my career development? 
In the proposed policy, the expectation is for employees to engage in and managers to support the career development process. The updated performance management process provides the infrastructure to implement this new expectation for both employees and managers. The career development planning phase will document agreed upon career development opportunities in which employees will participate. The draft policies specify that managers are expected to support employees in pursuit of their career interests, to adopt practices that promote career development throughout their area and to allow employees participation in appropriate developmental opportunities. Managers will be evaluated on these expectations in their own performance review. It is important for the employee to be clear on what their career development interests are and work collaboratively with their supervisor to determine their strategic goals for the position and define ways to develop their goals.

What happens to the tuition waiver if I switch to the new plan? 
There are no proposed changes to the current policy on tuition waiver/tuition reimbursement.

What happens if your department doesn’t have the money or resources to advance your career development? 
Career development can take many forms and they don’t have to be expensive. There are books that one can read, internet-based listservs to participate in, free online courses through Lynda.com, and low-cost webinars. In addition, the new career communities being created across the university are intended to provide new cost-effective resources for employee professional development. With so many employees across VCU doing similar work or having similar career interests, the career communities can host brown bag lunches, invite guest speakers, and sponsor on-site annual conferences.

What is a promotion in place? 
The new HR plan is being designed around a series of flexible career paths in the various job families around the university. An exciting new feature that is part of that design is the ability to receive "promotions in place" as employees engage in career development, become more proficient in their current role, or learn new skills and grow their role. In our current HR system, promotions typically require employees to wait for jobs to open and then to apply for and compete for the promotion as an applicant through the employment process. Often, this means that employees must leave one job for another to advance in their career. At VCU, we want to retain our valuable employees by offering them promotions within their career path without having to change positions.  That's not to say that there won't still be times when the right "next move" for an employee would be applying for a different position, but the career paths are meant to provide another option that's not currently available.