The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Lessons From a Compensation Structure Overhaul

compensation-structure-overhaulAn outdated salary schedule, entry-level salaries that are out of sync with the market, and more than 1,000 different job titles that make equity comparisons next to impossible. Sound like a compensation challenge too tough to overcome? Think again.

In a packed session at the CUPA-HR Annual Conference and Expo 2014 in San Antonio, Texas last month, Ronda Rotelli, chief HR officer, and Rand Key, senior vice chancellor, from the Lone Star College System shared their experience with a compensation overhaul and the lessons learned along the way.

Three of those lessons are valuable takeaways not only for developing and implementing a new compensation structure, but also for managing any significant change:

  • Define. As you articulate your goals, be clear about what you mean. When you say you want salaries that are competitive in your market, how do you define “competitive”? It’s critical for everyone involved to be on the same page about what terms like this mean.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate … and then communicate more. To all employees, beginning as early as possible. The more that people understand about the changes and the reasons behind them, the less confusion and miscommunication you’ll have.
  • Customize. One message does not fit all. Customize your communications when it makes sense to talk to faculty and staff differently. For compensation matters, in particular, be sure to include employees and supervisors in the process by creating tools to help them assess positions and provide input.

Is your institution overdue for a compensation restructure? Check out the Job Classification and Evaluation Toolkit or the Compensation Programs and Plans Toolkit in the CUPA-HR Knowledge Center. And when you’re ready to conduct an analysis of salaries offered at your peer institutions, you’ll find CUPA-HR’s family of salary surveys your most reliable and thorough data source.