Classified salary administration plan

The VCU classified salary administration plan outlines how the university implements the commonwealth of Virginia’s classified compensation management system. This plan outlines specifically how the university implements job evaluation, compensation and performance management. The salary administration plan is the foundation for ensuring consistent application of compensation management and job evaluation decisions. The plan will help prevent employee disputes based on misapplication of policy and it will assist the university in monitoring and evaluating the classified compensation management process.

VCU evaluates classified and wage positions using the commonwealth’s classification system (whole job evaluation method). Positions are assigned to roles (known as “Position Classes” in Banner) that encompass a broad group of occupation-related jobs that represent varying levels of work and are further distinguished using the federal Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system (in Banner, known as federal Occupational Title Code or “OTC”).

Effective date +

The effective date of the original VCU classified salary administration plan was Sept. 25, 2000. The latest revision of the salary administration plan became effective Oct. 25, 2004.

Salary administration policies +

The university’s compensation philosophy is to compensate employees in a manner sufficient to support and develop a high performance workforce so that quality services are provided in a fiscally responsible manner to the university’s internal and external customers and the citizens of the commonwealth.

In addition, VCU has operationalized its compensation philosophy by identifying the basic goals and values that guide the ongoing design, implementation and administration of the university’s classified compensation management program. The following are the underlying principles of VCU’s compensation philosophy:

  • To ensure that all compensation decisions are consistent with VCU’s mission, goals and business objectives
  • To encourage shared ownership of compensation management between university administration and Human Resources (HR) to include HR review/consultation on centralized salary actions and management decision-making and accountability for decentralized pay decisions
  • To use job evaluation, compensation and rewards tools to support recruitment and retention of quality employees
  • To provide flexibility in determining employee compensation by using the pay practices identified in the commonwealth’s compensation management system
  • To grant salary increases based on employees meeting an acceptable level of job performance

Human Resources reviews each requested action and conducts post-audits of select compensation actions every six months. Annually, we review and compile a report of university-wide classified compensation actions. Additionally, we continually review all existing policies, practices and information systems requirements to determine if revisions and adjustments are needed to support the university’s compensation philosophy and classified compensation management system.

Responsibilities +

The following outlines the types of actions each level in the organization is responsible/accountable for in implementing the classified compensation management system. The goal is to delegate compensation decisions to the level of management responsible for supervising the operational unit and the employee.

VCU Compensation Committee
Committee members include representatives from the Office of the President, each vice presidential area, budget and resource analysis, assurance services, a designated school, staff senate and Human Resources. The assistant vice president for Human Resources chairs the committee. The committee’s responsibilities include:

  • Providing strategic planning for the university’s classified compensation management program
  • Recommending compensation policy changes for classified staff
  • Reviewing university-wide financial implications of classified compensation practices
  • Monitoring compliance with rules and regulations of the classified compensation program
  • Evaluating the compensation management program
  • Conducting a biennial reassessment of VCU’s classified salary administration plan

President/provost/vice presidents
As the university’s senior administrators, this management level oversees the classified compensation management program by:

  • Reviewing and refining the university’s compensation management philosophy as needed
  • Overseeing establishment of the salary administration plan and designating levels for approval authority
  • Holding the school/department managers accountable for compensation decisions and proper application of the classified compensation management program
  • Encouraging managers/supervisors to participate in educational/training opportunities and to seek HR’s advice on compensation and job evaluation matters
  • Assessing and determining the overall priorities of potential compensation issues for their schools/departments
  • Overseeing compliance with rules and regulations of the classified compensation management program
  • Reviewing equal employment opportunity (EEO) impact of salary decisions, job evaluation results and other decisions impacting compensation
  • Approving or delegating the approval of each requested compensation action
  • Reviewing the impact of the school’s/department’s individualized compensation plan

Dean/department head
This level of university management is responsible for the following:

  • Holding the schools/departments accountable for compensation decisions and proper application of the classified compensation management program
  • Communicating information concerning the university’s classified compensation program to supervisors and employees
  • Assessing salary priorities and departmental needs that will have the greatest impact on their organizational unit
  • Complying with rules and regulations of the classified compensation management program
  • Developing and/or updating an annual departmental classified pay practices and recognition award plan
  • Ensuring that compensation actions can be supported by adequate justification and funding
  • Negotiating salaries with applicants and employees as appropriate and in partnership with Human Resources
  • Approving delegated compensation actions
  • Responding to employee appeals
  • Reviewing EEO impact of salary decisions, job evaluation allocations and other decisions impacting compensation

Department chair/division head/first line supervisor
This level of university management is responsible for the following:

  • Providing employees with information on the university’s classified compensation management program
  • Partnering with Human Resources to develop communication strategies for employees on the university’s compensation program
  • Encouraging and coaching employees career development
  • Providing feedback to employees on job performance
  • Recommending compensation actions to deans/department managers or designees
  • Complying with rules and regulations of the classified compensation management program
  • Ensuring that there is no adverse EEO impact on compensation decisions, job evaluation allocations and other decisions impacting compensation
  • Responding to employee questions/concerns about compensation decisions
  • Gathering information to support compensation requests to include:
    • Percentage increase requested
    • Source of funding
    • Total percent of all previous increases this fiscal year
    • Justification for salary increases and the amount of increase by addressing the applicable pay determination factors
  • Negotiating salaries with applicants and employees as appropriate and in partnership with Human Resources
  • Educating employees on change management issues

Human Resources
Our staff will serve as consultants to university management and employees in order to increase their understanding of the application of the classified compensation management system by:

  • Partnering with managers and providing consultation and review and approval of compensation and job evaluation actions
  • Chairing and managing the University Compensation Committee
  • Providing employees with information on the university’s compensation management program
  • Providing training and educational resources to managers and employees as needed
  • Providing tools and resources to allow for flexible implementation of compensation practices
  • Preparing and reviewing reports regarding compensation decisions and practices
  • Complying with rules and regulations of the classified compensation management program
  • Reviewing EEO impact of compensation decisions, job evaluation allocations and other decisions impacting compensation
  • Providing a biennial evaluation of compensation decisions to the University Compensation Committee
  • Providing recommendations for changes to the university’s compensation management program
  • Evaluating compensation practices and other Human Resource actions that can be decentralized within the university
  • Rescinding decentralized authority if a department fails to follow proper policies and procedures

Employee
VCU classified employees are responsible for the following:

  • Leveraging self-development, applying new skills and competencies and managing their own career development
  • Staying informed about the university’s compensation management program
  • Taking responsibility for their professional development and growth
Recruitment and selection process +

VCU will recruit for vacant positions using working titles. As part of the recruitment process, we will assist recruiting managers and supervisors in identifying an “anticipated hiring range” that considers salary reference data, total compensation, internal alignment of similar staff, overall budget and other pay determination factors as appropriate. Generally, hiring ranges will be included in job postings or advertisements.

Qualified applicants will be interviewed and selected according to the VCU Human Resource policy on Employment, Promotion and Transfer. For centralized hiring decisions, Human Resources will review the selection packet and potential salary offer submitted by the hiring department. Upon Human Resource’s approval of the potential salary offer, the hiring department can begin the final salary offer negotiations with the applicant selected for hire. No one has authority to make an offer or to offer a specific salary to a prospective employee until approval from HR has been obtained, with the exception of decentralized hourly new hires. HR will confirm the official salary offer and other conditions of employment in writing to the selected applicant.

Performance management process +

The following describes VCU’s performance management process for classified employees.

Probationary period
VCU’s probationary period for classified employees is 12 months from the date of employment. The university uses the probationary progress review form to document performance during the first twelve months of employment. Reviews are encouraged at any time during the probationary review period, but should be conducted after six months of employment.

Extension of the probationary period for an additional six months will be considered for performance reasons or if an employee transfers to a new position within the second half of the 12-month probation period. Such extensions require Human Resources review and the departmental reviewer’s approval as indicated on the probationary progress review form.

Probationary period exception: VCU requires current employees or employees transferring from another state agency who are entering positions classified as police officer and police dispatcher to serve another 12-month probationary period. Since these public safety positions require certification following completion of a mandatory training program, the additional probationary period ensures performance is reviewed after completion of training and certification. Employees will be notified of this requirement during the recruitment process and in the employment offer letter. The departmental reviewer and Human Resources must approve extensions of probation beyond the 12-month period.

Performance management tools for non-probationary employees
VCU has developed the following forms for the performance management process. Departments are encouraged to use these forms but can develop their own with Human Resources review and approval.

  • Employee work profile (EWP) — work description/performance plan
  • Employee work profile (EWP) — performance evaluation
  • Interim evaluation for non-probationary employees
  • Self-evaluation
  • Acknowledgment of extraordinary contribution
  • Notice of improvement needed

Interim evaluations for non-probationary employees are encouraged and the reviewer’s signature is not required. Other performance management tools will be considered in future phases to include team evaluation, upward feedback evaluation and peer/customer (“360 degree”) evaluation. Departments that wish to develop such tools before they are implemented university-wide must work in conjunction with Human Resources to develop.

Employee work profile (EWP)
The employee work profile (EWP) work description/performance plan should be completed within 30 days of the beginning of the performance cycle (by Nov. 25 of each year). The EWP should be completed, reviewed and signed with an employee who is beginning a new or different position within 30 days of the employee’s begin date.

VCU requires that certain elements be included in all EWPs. A required competency of all university employees is “customer service.” Additional required competencies may be established at the departmental level as appropriate. Employees are required to sign a confidentiality and compliance statement, which emphasizes VCU’s values in these areas. Additionally, the job’s physical and cognitive requirements section must be completed. Other specific requirements and evidence of demonstrated competency that are required (certification and licensure) must be listed in the annual requirements section.

Performance increase philosophy and process
The university has elected to distinguish between different levels of performance based on five general ratings (extraordinary achiever, high achiever, achiever, fair performer and unsatisfactory performer).

The Commonwealth of Virginia has specified three performance categories (extraordinary contributor, contributor and below contributor). The university’s three middle performance ratings (high achiever, achiever and fair performer) equate to the commonwealth’s “contributor” level for conversion and compensation purposes.

Annually, the Virginia General Assembly determines the performance increase budget, if any; the amount of increase, if any; and the method of delivery (e.g., base pay increase and/or lump-sum bonus). VCU grants classified performance increases in accordance with the General Assembly’s decision. If performance increases are uniform (e.g., the same percentage amount regardless of the performance rating) or variable (e.g., different percentage amount based on the employee’s overall performance rating), VCU implements accordingly.

Performance appraisal appeals process
Employees who wish to appeal their performance appraisals should refer to VCU’s classified performance evaluation appeal options and/or the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management’s (DHRM) Policy 1.40: Performance Planning and Evaluation.

Wage employees +

Wage employment is used to address seasonal or temporary workload increases, interim replacements, short-term projects or other similar situations. Human Resources (and departments in the case of decentralized wage positions) will evaluate wage positions using the same job evaluation methodology and job structure that that is used for classified positions. The following pay practices are used for wage employees:

  • Starting pay
  • Role change (upward, downward or lateral)
  • In-band adjustment (for change in duties only)
Alternate pay bands +

VCU currently has alternate pay band structures that differ from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s salary structure. Alternate pay bands have been developed based on market analysis for VCU’s information technology and campus police/emergency dispatcher positions. These alternate pay bands are reviewed and, if indicated by labor market, revised annually.

Pay practices +

VCU HR consultants provide consultation and technical guidance to managers and supervisors in their assigned departments on issues dealing with compensation management and job evaluation. All compensation actions must follow the pay practice guidelines and recognition award guidelines.

Depending on the pay practice being implemented, documentation may include a pay action worksheet, employee work profile, a current performance evaluation on file with an acceptable level of employee performance and/or a completed personnel action form. Role changes, in-band adjustments and recognition awards are implemented on a monthly basis (effective the 10th of the month). No compensation action will be retroactive.

Program evaluation +

VCU continuously monitors and evaluates the implementation of the classified compensation management system and makes adjustments as appropriate.

Monitor
The following factors form the basis for the periodic review of the university’s implementation of the classified compensation management system:

  • Adherence to pay practice guidelines and compensation policy
  • Patterns of compensation actions
  • Compliance with federal and state laws and policy (e.g., FLSA, EEO)
  • Impact on the university’s budget

Compensation program evaluation
The university continuously evaluates its compensation management program using the following schedule:

  • Semi-annually, VCU Human Resources conducts selected post-audits of pay practice actions and job evaluation allocations to ensure consistency and adherence to guidelines.
  • Annually, HR conducts a review and compiles a report of all compensation decisions, including demographic distribution of resulting pay practice actions and cost of salary increases and decreases. This report is used to accomplish the following:
    • Identify targeted department managers/supervisors that need additional training
    • Identify any university-wide training needs
    • Consider additional opportunities for decentralization
    • Rescind decentralization authority if warranted
    • Suggest changes to the classified salary administration plan
  • Annually, HR will assess the university’s compensation management program effectiveness by:
    • Reviewing the compensation philosophy to ensure it remains consistent with the university’s mission, goals and values
    • Modifying implementation of pay practices based on feedback from university management
  • Biennially, HR will conduct a reassessment of the classified salary administration plan.
Administrative appeals +

VCU encourages managers, supervisors and employees to communicate openly and clearly about the university’s compensation management system and the organizational unit’s compensation priorities and challenges. Communication should be an open dialogue between all parties.

  • If an employee has concerns about a compensation decision, s/he may discuss it informally with the dean/department head.
  • If the employee does not resolve his/her issues informally with the dean/department head, s/he may put the specific concerns in writing to the dean/department head within 10 work days of learning about the compensation decision.
    • The dean/department head should respond in writing to the employee within 10 work days. The dean/department head may either reconsider the compensation decision or provide a business-related justification for the decision in consultation with the employee’s supervisor.
  • At the conclusion of an appeal, the dean/department head should submit copies of the appeal and response to HR's Director of Employee Relations. The documentation will not become a part of the employee’s official HR file.

Use of the appeal process does not automatically extend the 30 calendar-day timeframe to initiate a formal grievance. HR employee relations specialists are available to assist the employee in developing an appeal and the manager in preparing a response.

EEO compliance +

All compensation decisions must be based on legitimate reasons as detailed in the pay determination factors and unrelated to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation or disability. Compensation decisions will be reviewed to determine their impact on diversity.

Communications +

The communications vehicles listed below are used by Human Resources to inform, educate and provide updates to university administration, department managers, personnel administrators and employees on the university’s classified compensation management system.

  • HR website updates
  • HR partners sessions
  • Instant HR emails
  • Personnel administrator training sessions