Job Classification Structure

Job Classification Structure

Job Classification Structure

As UCCS grows, the need for a structured system of classifying jobs and paying employees has become evident. UCCS has created a framework to develop fair and consistent pay policies, using market data for categorizing jobs and establishing pay ranges to recruit and retain talented employees and bring consistency to the value of positions. 

In line with the core strategy of deliberate investment in the UCCS 2030 Strategic Plan, this project aims to produce more transparency in compensation and hiring practices and align UCCS with industry best practices.

Goals of the Classification Structure Project

This project is based on the foundational step of clear and consistent job evaluation and classification to provide:

  • Standardized means of classifying new or changed jobs.
  • Means of comparing jobs of similarly situated positions and pay rates using market data.
  • Basis for a simpler, more rational salary structure.
  • Incentive for employees to strive for higher-level jobs within a transparent advancement trajectory.

Compensation structure objectives:

  1. Establish a formal classification and compensation philosophy to attract and retain high-performing employees at all levels.
  2. Implement a compensation management tool, PayScale, for use in evaluating UCCS jobs against select markets using appropriate salary surveys.
  3. Within the existing job family framework, create a job group structure for evaluating similarly situated positions at a micro level.
  4. Standardize HR job evaluation practices to ensure uniformity in internal business processes.
  5. Review existing compensation policies and create clarity and consistency wherever possible.
  6. Align compensation structures to comply with existing federal and state employment laws, including the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.
  7. Create a comprehensive communication plan, educational tools, and web content regarding the new structure to create transparency and understanding in the campus community.

Additional Information

  • In late 2018, UCCS began work on the creation of an established classification structure and compensation philosophy to create a formalized and equitable structure from which to work when hiring university staff. This project involved an evaluation of all job descriptions within each of the University’s job families to determine which positions within each job family have similarly situated positions based on the work performed for compensation decisions. This resulted in the creation of 82 functional groups based on the functional area within the 19 CU job families.1 These functional groups are used for a more targeted classification of positions.

    Before 2018, HR conducted an individual classification and compensation analysis for each position filled at UCCS. These were often subjective and varied depending on the department’s request and available budget. The creation of new functional groups establishes a formalized structure for understanding which jobs are similarly situated and provides a standardized method for ensuring that positions of similar worth are paid at equitable rates. The work done in creating this structure prepared UCCS for the required implementation of the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (CEPEWA) on January 1, 2021.

    In 2020, the HR Talent Acquisition team partnered with HR offices throughout the CU system to discuss the implementation of CEPEWA with the support of the external consulting group, Aon. Because UCCS had proactively embarked on the creation of unique classifications before the implementation of the new law, we were well prepared to undertake specific equity analyses without repeating the work needed to determine which positions were similarly situated. In addition, UCCS had already worked with CU System to create a system page in HCM with which to document and track unique job group classifications and allow for reporting. This solution, initiated by UCCS HR, was later adopted by all four CU campuses in the implementation of CEPEWA.

  • Classification Structure Development
    In creating a classification structure for the campus, HR reviewed job descriptions for each position on campus and conducted a thorough job evaluation to determine appropriate functional groups within each job family. This resulted in an expansion of existing CU job families to provide more specific classifications for UCCS positions. The new UCCS university staff salary structure reflects 82 functional groups based on job levels within the existing 19 CU job families, functional definitions, and their associated competitive market ranges based on each functional level.

    Most positions within CU fall into a ranking structure within nine job levels:

    • Director – job codes ending in zero (0)
    • Associate Director – job codes ending in one (1)
    • Assistant Director – Job codes ending in two (2)
    • Program Director – Job codes ending in three (3)
    • Manager – Job codes ending in four (4)
    • Program Manager – Job codes ending in five (5)
    • Principle Professional – Job codes ending in six (6)
    • Senior Professional – Job codes ending in seven (7)
    • Professional – Job codes ending in eight (8)
    • Entry – Job codes ending in nine (9)

    Proposed Compensation Philosophy

    The following proposed compensation philosophy has been created based on industry guidance and research about best practices. HR will adhere to these tenets in each action taken about compensation.

    The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is committed to establishing a compensation structure that is transparent, competitive, and externally and internally equitable. Competitive compensation practices are essential to employee recruitment, satisfaction, job performance, and retention.

    To support colleges, departments, and UCCS employees, this policy adheres to the following principles:

    1. Competitiveness: Pay ranges are based on appropriate benchmark data based on the level of the position. Benchmarks are acquired from higher education, nationwide, industry, and local labor market surveys that are comparable to our total expenditures and enrollment in public and doctoral-level organizations.
    2. Internal Equity: Utilizes job-specific classifications reflecting key areas of responsibility and skill that recognize relative levels of knowledge and skill, judgment, breadth, the scope of the role, impact, accountability, and communication expertise in similarly situated positions.
    3. Flexibility: A compensation structure provides a framework to support diverse and complex organizational needs to accommodate differences in job requirements, the job market, employee performance, and each college and department’s financial resources.
    4. Consistency: When positions are filled, HR staff conduct an in-depth job evaluation to ensure that each job is appropriately classified into a job group with other similarly situated positions that all fall into the same pay range.
    5. Transparency: Managers and employees have access to job descriptions and pay guidelines. Policies and procedures are created to ensure that similar jobs are paid equitably across the University, in compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.

    Project Milestones

    In keeping with project objectives and line with both the UCCS 2030 Strategic Plan and values, the following milestones have been reached in addition to the creation of the classification structure.

    • Salary ranges have been established within each job group by functional level including minimum, midpoint, and maximum, reflecting market pay. The ranges are designed to keep our salaries competitive with similar jobs in our job market, whether that be local, regional, or national.
    • The MarketPay compensation management system was implemented in 2020 in collaboration with Employee Services and provides validated salary data on demand, enabling fluid salary ranges which keep the University in step and up to date with market conditions.
    • A comprehensive glossary of terms has been created to eliminate areas of confusion around concepts such as promotion, reclassification, and other job changes which may impact compensation.

    Continuing Work

    Expected that these will be completed in the fall of 2021

    • HR staff continue to review results provided by Aon Consulting to review potential inequities and consider possible remedies to those findings to bring UCCS into compliance with CEPEWA.
    • UCCS Human Resources is contracting with Employers Council, an HR consulting firm that works with employers within Colorado to further analyze employee pay as it relates to CEPEWA as well as general compression issues. Work will begin in November and expect preliminary results in early 2022.
    • A committee with members throughout the campus community, including both staff and faculty representatives, has commenced work on revisions to UCCS APS 300-012, Compensation for Officers and University Staff, to create alignment and compliance with CEPEWA.
    • Work has begun on comprehensive web resources and a communication campaign to educate members of the campus community on the new structure and create transparency to promote confidence in job classification and compensation decisions
    • In this new structure, salary ranges are fluid based on the market and require continual updates and modifications to remain current.
    • The new structure will require ongoing periodic adjustments to functional groups when new market-based matches for university positions become available.
  • HR will work in conjunction with the Budget office to develop a plan to move toward addressing equity and paying near or at the market, while understanding and balancing fiscal limitations.

    Below are the steps and checks and balances that will be put in place in implementing the University Staff Classification Structure.

    • Employees and managers must work together if they believe the job description does not accurately reflect the work being conducted.
    • Then Managers and Directors must work with their Assistants, Associate, and Vice Chancellor, and in conjunction with HR, to determine the order in which revised job descriptions will be reviewed for possible promotion.
    • Request to fill and job descriptions will be sent through the Cherwell ticket system and will be reviewed by HR on a ‘First In, First Out’ basis. The Position Review Committee or their designee will also review for priority based on the available budget.
    • If approved, promotions will be posted in CU Careers.
  • The UCCS 2030 Strategic Plan set an initiative of developing and implementing a transparent operational plan for human resources. This project is the first of many steps toward accomplishing that goal. A clear and transparent job classification structure is essential in a growing organization such as UCCS. The classification structure establishes consistent job evaluation and classification processes as well as a structure based on industry best practices. The creation of specific functional groups within each CU job family ensures accurate alignment of similarly situated positions and promotes equity in compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.

    Adhering to clear project objectives, the HR team has taken the steps necessary to ensure that UCCS remains competitive in the job market. This will enable us to both recruit and retain the talent necessary to fuel success in the fastest-growing school within the CU system, in line with the UCCS core value of dynamic responsible growth.