A Career Ladder is a department-driven process designed to formally progress a regular staff employee to a higher level position (see University Administrative Policies (UAP) #3260, Career Development, Section 6). This process allows the employee to gain experience in their current position, in preparation of moving to the higher-level position upon successful completion of the Career Ladder. This program consists of a formal agreement between an employee and their manager allowing for employee development over a period not less than 6 months. The actual length of time needed to complete a Career Ladder depends on the time it takes the employee to attain the minimum qualifications and the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the higher level classification, as well as the time it takes for the employee to demonstrate competency in the key duties and responsibilities of the higher-level classification. Although a competitive process is not required for an employee to advance through a Career Ladder, consideration should be given to interested and qualified employees within the department.
There are numerous benefits for both the employee and department management to engage in the Career Ladder process when there is a business need.
- Can develop new skills and competencies in their current job.
- Can demonstrate initiative and willingness to work to further department and University goals.
Managers and Supervisors
- Can retain valued employees who are motivated to advance their careers.
- Can attract high quality employees with the opportunity to advance within their positions.
- Can develop well-trained employees and increase morale.
- Can provide a higher level of quality and service to clients.
The following preconditions must be met: 1) the department must have a genuine need for the higher level work; 2) the target position classification must be Career Ladder eligible (see Managers Note below); 3) the employee must be able to demonstrate the potential to perform it successfully; 4) the employee must meet the minimum requirements of the new position upon completion of the career ladder.
An employee must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a Career Ladder:
- The employee must be a regular full- or part-time staff member
- The employee must have successfully completed their probationary period
- The employee must have received Successful overall ratings on their most recent performance evaluation
- The employee must not be currently be under performance management or disciplinary action
- The employee has not already completed two successive Career Ladders without an intervening competitive position change
- The department has been free of layoffs in similar classifications at the same grade level for the past 12 months
Managers Note: Not all UNM position classifications are available for Career Ladders. For example, high level administrative and operational management classifications are not Career Ladder eligible. Departments should contact their HR Consultant prior to initiating a Career Ladder to ensure position eligibility.
Career Ladder Process
The manager and the employee enter into a formal Career Ladder agreement by completing and signing the Staff Career Ladder Request form. Copies of the signed Career Ladder and related documents must be submitted to HR Compensation at email@example.com for approval both prior to the commencement of the Career Ladder process and upon completion of the process.
The Career Ladder Request form should include information addressing the business need that prompted the request and provide any factual and supporting information that will be useful in the review of the request, and estimated Career Ladder completion date and an Action Plan listing the top five goals that must be accomplished by the employee in order to successfully complete the Career Ladder. Upon Completion, the supervisor must provide details on how the Action Plan was met. The manager must obtain the appropriate signatures required on the Career Ladder Request form prior to submitting to HR for review.
Salary Determination and Internal Equity
At the discretion of the department, an employee may receive a salary adjustment upon completion of the Career Ladder. A department may request a partial salary adjustment upon initiation of the Career Ladder with the remaining adjustment being applied upon completion of the Career Ladder. Such increases must be reviewed and approved by HR. Please refer to the Salary Determination and Internal Equity for Staff Employees Guidelines for guidance on pay increases and internal equity reviews.
For bargaining unit employees please refer to the appropriate union bargaining agreement.