Growing your career

Career paths

Each job in a job family has three levels (e.g., Accountant I, Accountant II, Accountant III). Each level has four proposed stages (emerging, proficient, accomplished and expert), each of which has their own market-based salary range. Career paths provide opportunities for employees to advance through their careers by moving across the four stages and up the three levels as they gain competencies and experience. It defines the exact competencies needed by the employee to advance.

Promotions in place
Career advancement in the same job is called "promotion in place." It is how employees can move through a career path without necessarily having to switch jobs. 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.


Career communities

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. For instance, fiscal administrators in schools and departments across the university may be the only fiscal personnel in their area. Career communities provide an opportunity for them to emerge from their school or department to meet and talk regularly with other fiscal administrators from other schools and departments. The plan is to establish a career community for each job family at VCU. Career communities are the structure around which many career development opportunities are provided in the new HR plan. 


Performance management

In the new HR policy, the expectation is for employees to engage in and managers to support the career development process. The performance management process provides the infrastructure to implement this new expectation for both employees and managers. It identifies and documents agreed upon career development opportunities in which employees will participate. 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.

RamTalent Connection
Moving forward, all VCU employees are required to complete career development throughout the year. At the start of the performance cycle, each employee will work with their manager to create a career development plan. In support of this new approach, VCU is implementing RamTalent Connection, new performance management software that helps employees and managers identify goals, align goals with the strategic mission and vision of the university, and track employee progress.

Pay for performance or merit pay
University and Academic professionals will receive budgeted salary increases based on their level of performance during the performance review process. 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. The expectation is that over time the high performers receive higher salary increases.