UI works to reclassify jobs


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Updating roughly 5,500 staff titles and job descriptions will help University of Iowa officials recruit and retain employees more effectively, officials said Wednesday.

Kevin Ward, the UI assistant vice president for Human Services, presented the next phase of the ongoing Classification and Compensation Redesign Project to the Staff Council at its meeting on Wednesday. Starting in January, officials will start telling people their new official titles and descriptions.

Officials said the need for the redesign project stemmed from outdated terms — they were last updated in 1985.

The main goals for the project are to attract highly qualified employees to the university by using more competitive job descriptions and more accurately set salaries.

More than 5,500 staff members will see a classification change. Positions to see the title change include accounting, IT, and research positions.

In addition to changing individual titles, the project will create levels of classification to more accurately group related jobs together.

Accounting positions, for example, would be under the business and finance function. The accounting family will include numerous levels such as senior accountant and managing accountant.

Overall, the new system will be more specific in its classifications, further grouping jobs by functions, families, and progressions. Vague descriptions such as “project assistant” will be reworked.

“As a human-resource person myself, I know it’s very hard to try to recognize and award staff with salaries and promotion in the current system,” said Staff Council President Amber Seaton. “You have to have more exceptions to create more flexibility. I think that’s really going to benefit staff.”

The project has been underway since 2008, and it will be ongoing, Ward said.

Karen Shemanski, the head of the project, said officials need to increase flexibility for both individual responsibilities and salary.

“Now, the framework is not so rigid,” she said.

Though salaries of existing employees won’t be negatively affected, future promotions will reflect new rates, while new hirings may see higher offers.

Staff were called upon early in the process to give input on their titles and filled out Job Information Forms to assist the committee, informing the members about what the individuals do.

Plans for the project’s completion and implementation is the fall of 2011, but Ward said minor adjustments will continue into the summer of 2012. A budget for the project, which he called “minimal,” wasn’t available Wednesday night.

Shemanski stressed that the group has tried to maintain transparency throughout the entire process.
“I think we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback about the project,” she said.

Officials plan to notify the entire staff by Feb. 28.

“It’s a living, breathing process,” Ward said.

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