Human Resources staff will begin working with campus departments this month to implement new titles for staff positions. The move is the next step in the university’s ongoing effort to update and restructure its decades-old pay and classification system.
By June 30, some 700 job titles for non-faculty employees will be sorted into one of 29 “job families” that are defined by the work the employees actually perform.
“This will help clean up the inconsistencies that have developed over 30 years of job titling practices,” says Duane Ritter, director of HR’s offices of Employment, Compensation and Records. “It’s another important step in a long process that will lead to job titles that reflect the duties and responsibilities of individual positions.”
The current classification system for UGA’s 7,000 staff employees is basically unchanged from the way it was created by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in the 1970s. A study by the firm of Deloitte and Touche in 2001 found the system flawed by too many salary grades; inconsistencies in job descriptions, titles and actual employee duties; non-competitive pay scales; and ineffective salary administration practices.
That study was part of the Human Resources effort, begun in 2000, to modernize and streamline the system.
Grouping titles into families is designed to help HR better understand all the titles that exist and how they match up with work actually being performed, says Ritter. He and other HR staff have studied thousands of job descriptions and organized them into 29 broad categories, or families, that group together people who perform similar work.
Some of the families are specific and straightforward, such as the ”library” family, which is for ”positions unique to the operation of a library,” or “development/alumni,” which includes “alumni relations and fund-raising positions.”
Others are much broader and cover a wide range of duties. ”Information technology,” for instance, includes “programming, systems support, network support, technical support, user support, Web page design and maintenance, computer operations and instructional support positions.”
“Once we have all these similar positions together, we can see what type of work is going on and it becomes easier to do an analysis,” Ritter explains. “For example, we might find we have two levels of network specialist. There may be six or seven current different titles, but just two levels of work.”
The new groupings will help address a major criticism in the Deloitte and Touche study: that people in many offices do the same work but have widely varying titles-such as the ubiquitous “program coordinator”-or are in what are called “gray area” positions that don’t have clearly defined standard responsibilities. In the new system, they will all be placed in job titles that reflect the work being performed.
To ensure that the interpretation of information is correct, HR staff will meet with deans and other managers who can provide direct insight about titles and skill levels.
The new titles will reduce the current 700 classifications and eventually will result in elimination of some titles and creation of new titles.
At this point, however, the new system will have no effect on salaries, says Hank Huckaby, senior vice president for finance and administration.
“The current budget situation has forced us to take a hard look at how quickly we can fully implement a new classification and pay system,” says Huckaby. “The process to establish new titles will be completed by June but, regrettably, any comparison to external position salaries will have to be delayed to a future fiscal year.”