Auburn University
Information For: Students Prospective Students Employees Alumni Tiger Fans
AU Report

January 29, 2007

Human Resources Introducing New Classification System

Wrapping up a comprehensive study, AU is now in the final stages of implementing changes to its compensation, classification, and performance management  system for non-faculty employees.

The new program, which applies to administrative/professional and university staff personnel, will make job descriptions, job titles, performance appraisals and salary administration more consistent, clear, and fair across campus, said Lynne Hammond, AU’s assistant vice president for human resources.

Capping more than two years of development, public input and review, all features of the new system will be in place by the end of the current fiscal year on September 30. Approximately 3000 full-time employees will be impacted by the new system.

Hammond said no one’s salary will be reduced as a result of the new program.  “There will be no immediate impact on salaries,” she said, “but the new system should make it easier for employees and their supervisors to plan for career growth and document accomplishments to justify future merit increases.”

AU began developing a new classification and compensation system for A/P and Staff employees in 2004.  Many employees saw the first results of the classification and compensation project in January of 2006 when the University implemented a new performance management system for non-faculty employees.  The new performance management process places more emphasis on employee involvement in setting goals and encouraging employees to take advantage of opportunities for growth and development.  With implementation of the new performance management system, AU converted to a calendar year performance review cycle beginning each January.

Although AU could have significantly reduced the time spent developing the system by limiting campus-wide participation in the process, Hammond said there was a consensus among planners and administrators that involvement by stakeholders was critical to designing a system that is responsive to the needs of the University community, including administration and employees.

“We started the job analysis process by asking all employees to complete a job  questionnaire, and we devoted a lot of time to soliciting and incorporating feedback through other means, such as focus groups, one-on-one interviews with campus leaders, and review of questionnaires by two levels of supervision” said Hammond.  “As a result, we were able to provide every employee who will be impacted by the new system an opportunity to provide input into his or her job classification and to build a system that our employees and supervisors can take ownership in.” 

In addition to being responsive to stakeholders, Hammond said the new system is designed to be easier to understand, fairer, more consistent and more reflective of market conditions than previous classification and compensation practices.  In the past, despite the availability of standard policies and procedures, AU’s classification and compensation practices varied from unit to unit and among various employee groups, creating disparities in job descriptions, titles and compensation for similarly situated employees across campus.  In addition, the salary structure for non-faculty employees was out-of-date and did not reflect current market conditions.

The new system will include 19 salary grades, from salary grade 24, the lowest, to 42, the highest.  The salary grades will be adjusted regularly to remain consistent with market conditions for each pay grade.  Positions may be reclassified to a higher salary grade when there are major changes in job responsibilities or market conditions but not as a mechanism to reward employees, said Chuck Gerards, director of classification and compensation in AU Human Resources.  Under the new system, financial rewards will come through promotion or merit increases based on documented performance.

During 2007, the process will be refined and fully implemented, said Gerards.  The next major step will involve training of all supervisors across campus through a Web-based seminar, or Webinar.  HR will announce the Web site and release other relevant information as the March rollout approaches.

The Web-based stage will be followed  by the release of personalized statements, job descriptions, compensation brochures and other materials through HR liaisons in units across campus.  Supervisors will be asked to schedule one-on-one orientation sessions for staff members in their units during March as the campus moves toward full implementation.

Auburn University  |  Auburn, Alabama 36849  |  Phone: (334) 844-4000  |  Email:
© 2007 Copyright Regulations