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In December 2019, UNM hired Huron Consulting Group and, in collaboration with Human Resources (HR) and other key stakeholders across campus, looked at how to improve pay practices across the institution. The goal of the review was two-fold:
- Identify approaches to enhance flexibility in determining staff salary levels; and
- Ensure consistency in administering pay equity across the University.
When Huron wrapped up their work in July 2020, they provided a series of recommendations to improve policies and processes:
- Establish a salary placement and equity process to align salaries with the employee’s education and job-related experience.
- Expand the review of equity to include additional personnel actions and ensure consistency across entire schools/colleges/divisions.
- Develop a salary placement and equity tool to assist departments in determining appropriate salary ranges for personnel actions and equity adjustments.
HR’s Response to Recommendations
Since July 2020, HR Compensation has been working to enhance existing policies and processes with three goals in mind:
- Offer greater flexibility in staff pay practices and compensation actions.
- Offer more competitive salaries for current and future staff employees.
- Work to address compression and pay inequities within Level 3 departments and organizations.
The creation of Salary Determination and Internal Equity for Staff Guidelines, the Salary Placement and Equity Tool (SPET), and the proposed changes to UAP 3500: Wage and Salary Administration policy are designed to address Huron’s recommendations.
Salary Determination and Internal Equity for Staff
Salary determination and internal equity play a critical role in the Salary Pay Practice changes and are key factors to consider when an individual is hired or competitively promoted. As a first step, Salary Determination and Internal Equity guidelines and SPET were created to guide the process, to establish salary parameters, and assess internal equity. These resources and tools provide a stronger and more flexible framework for establishing staff salaries.
The SPET has been piloted by approximately 15 Level 3 organizations across campus representing each Executive Vice President area. Pilot participants have been invaluable with their feedback and suggestions for improvements and have played an important role in getting the SPET ready for roll-out across UNM.
The SPET is specifically intended for use by departmental HR liaisons to support supervisors and managers by identifying salary placement for employees undergoing qualifying personnel actions. The SPET analyzes an employee’s related education and relevant experience to determine where they should be paid within the salary range associated with their classification’s grade.
The SPET also compares all incumbents in the same job classification within a Level 3 organization (i.e. School/College/Division level) to determine when a pay adjustment is necessary to maintain equity between similarly qualified employees. If a potential inequity may occur, the SPET will prompt the department to adjust an employee(s)’s pay to address the potential inequity.
At a minimum, a more experienced incumbent’s pay rate must match the salary of the new hire/employee undergoing a salary change. At most, the department may pay the incumbent at the top end of a calculated range that accounts for the incumbent’s related education and experience, unless additional justification is provided.
HR-Compensation has recommended several modifications to UAP 3500: Wage and Salary Administration Policy designed to positively impact staff pay practices. Changes have been submitted through the formal policy update process and include:
- Giving departments more tailored recommendations and enhanced flexibility in determining staff pay.
- Acknowledging the value of job-related experience and education.
- Establishing greater consistency when administering pay.
- Expanding opportunities for pay adjustments.
- Aligning University processes with those of industry leaders while also ensuring UNM practices comply with state and federal regulations.
- Ongoing communication of proposed changes and status updates.
- Train designated managers and SPET users.
- Implementation of the SPET across the University.
- 30-day Policy comment period through October 23, 2022 for proposed changes to UAP 3500.
- Discussions with collective bargaining units following the comment period for UAP 3500.
- Evaluation of HR Compensation Guidelines to reflect UAP 3500, once any changes are finalized.
- Create and/or update training plans, job aids, and SOPs.
- Train designated managers on changes to UAP 3500 once changes are approved.
- Implementation of the new policies and guidelines across the University.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. This Salary Placement and Equity methodology pertains to staff only. Additionally, the methodology will not apply to to temporary and on-call positions, or positions in broadband grades, such as grades 90, 93, 95, or 99.
Qualifications not directly tied to job-related education and experience may be considered by the department when determining an appropriate salary level within the calculated salary placement range provided by the tool. An out-of-range justification may be submitted if the department identifies the need to pay the employee at a rate higher than the range calculated by the tool, in order to acknowledge the individual’s additional qualifications. An out-of-range justification should include all information relevant to the rationale for the request.
It is important for the University to evaluate and address equity in a consistent manner. For this reason, all efforts should be made to ensure organizations are able to respond to inequities that may occur within their Level 3 organization. The Division of Human Resources will consult with organizational leaders in situations where budgetary restrictions limit the capacity to address equity, with the intent to support fair and equitable pay practices within the organization.
Participants in the pilot program will follow the Salary Placement and Equity methodology outlined on this webpage, rather than current Compensation Guidelines. Information regarding appropriate processes, procedures, and guidelines pertaining to SPET pilot participants is disseminated to designated HR Agents for each participating org. If your organization is listed as a pilot participant above, contact your respective HR Agent for up-to-date information on how the SPET should be applied for your organization.
The current Compensation Guidelines will continue to apply to all organizations outside the pilot group until the new Salary Placement and Equity methodology is implemented across the University (anticipated spring 2022).
Updates will be made to guidance within all Compensation Guidelines regarding salary placement and equity administration. For instance, Compensation Guidelines currently stipulate that an individual reclassified to a higher-level classification may receive a salary increase up to 10% per grade, not to exceed 20%. Once the Salary Placement and Equity methodology is implemented, an individual undergoing a reclassification may be paid anywhere within a calculated salary range associated with their job-related education and experience. This may equate to a small increase (less than 10%) or a significant increase, dependent on the employee’s current pay level and appropriate salary placement.
Additionally, Compensation Guidelines will be updated to ensure equity is evaluated whenever an employee moves into a new classification, whether by hire, reclassification, career ladder, or voluntary transfer to a lower level position.
You can access the SPET here. See the Resources section above for training and job aids.
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