New compensation plan features updated pay grades, improved reward system

Posted by Karen Lykins - Wednesday, August 10 2011
klykins@tntech.edu
Office of Communications & Marketing

The new university compensation plan weaves updated, simplified and understandable elements into a great fit for employees. The university anticipates approval of the plan by the TBR in September.

The new plan is being adopted in order to produce these benefits to campus: gaining an understanding of the university's position relative to the market and adopting new pay grades/practices based on that knowledge, restoring credibility and confidence in the reward system, addressing unresolved pay issues and increasing transparency and simplicity.

This overview highlights elements of the new design and a brief explanation of how this affects each employee. In the coming weeks, more details—including charts, sample documents and more in-depth explanation of methodology—will be posted and available to you. Several elements are now posted at http://www.tntech.edu/hr/class/.

"This plan will have a positive impact on our campus," said Human Resources Director Mike Cowan. "We've replaced the cumbersome, outdated system with a transparent, relevant plan similar to those used at many other TBR universities."

It's important to remember that available budget determines what elements of the plan will be implemented this year.

"We now have clear targets that we can strive to reach as we determine our budget priorities each year," said Claire Stinson.

New Compensation Plan Highlights

Clerical/support and administrative professional positions were benchmarked so the university will have a market guide to use when hiring and determining salaries for current employees. This benchmarking resulted in new pay grades with higher minimum starting points.

Clerical and support:

New C&S pay grades were created (there are now 11 grades)

Administrative professionals:

New administrative pay grades were created (there are now 16 grades)

"Time in Grade"

"Time in grade" was established based on the average length of time that it is expected that an employee would be totally proficient at the job. This component will be used to determine compensation targets when funds are available to address the comp plan; however, there is no guarantee that employees will move from minimum to midpoint of the compensation scale in this time frame.

Clerical and support: The plan expects that C&S employees move from minimum to midpoint in 5 years.

Administrative professionals: The plan expects that administrative employees move from minimum to midpoint in 8 years.

Additional compensation for college degree

For all employees:

Beginning July 2012, a new incentive will be offered for an employee who receives a degree at a higher level than his or her current academic standing and who has been employed with the university one year or more will receive a salary increase, only for the first degree attained.

Bachelor's $1,000 Master's $1,500 Doctorate $2,500

New titles

Clerical and support: New titles were created based on job families

Administrative professionals: New titles were established based on a new title protocol.

New criteria for determining starting salary

For both groups, a formula will be used to calculate starting salary. It will give credit for relevant experience and degrees that have been determined to be preferred qualifications that exceed minimum requirements.

For clerical and support, the rule "we start employees at the minimum" no longer exists.

New strategy for reclassification

All employees:

Reclassification requests will be reviewed by a committee in a timely and transparent manner, anticipated to be about 2-3 weeks.

Organizational charts have been created to show relationships between positions. The charts will be used in the reclassification process.

After the plan is implemented, a one-year moratorium on reclassification requests will be in place. After the first year, a reclassification request can be initiated by the hiring authority with the review and approval of the division's vice president.

Once the reclassification request has been approved to move forward by the division's vice president, Human Resources will assemble a review committee consisting of a subject-matter expert, a representative of either the C&S Committee or the Administrative Committee (depending on the level of the position), and the position's hiring authority. In advance of the committee meeting, Human Resources will perform market analysis and an internal comparable-position review.

All reclassification requests pending at the time the study began were folded into the process and addressed in a manner consistent with the new plan.

What elements can be funded now?

Everyone received the 3 percent ($750 minimum) raise effective July 1.

Some employees will receive an additional raise effective Oct. 1 to bring them up to the minimum of their new pay grade.

Bringing everyone to his or her target, based on "time in grade" is not possible now, but will be addressed in the future.

Additional compensation for a college degree will begin with the 2012-2013 academic year.

More to come

The final pay plan was submitted to TBR for approval in its upcoming September board meeting; the plan will go into effect Oct. 1.

In October, Human Resources will notify every employee of his or her new pay grade, salary and title according to the new pay plan.

Pay plan details will be posted on the Human Resources website. Over the next few months, Tech Times will feature articles highlighting individual elements of the plan.

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