Ohio University Reiterates Promise Of No Pay Reductions As Result Of ‘COMP 2014’

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Ohio University’s Compensation 2014 Project (COMP 2014) is in its third phase and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2014. Meanwhile, the university reiterates that no university employee will suffer a pay reduction as a result.

This announcement was made Tuesday in a memorandum to the Ohio University faculty and staff by Deborah J. Shaffer, senior associate vice president for finance and administration.

Although this project has taken more than two years and has involved a large amount of comparative data and data analysis, the university promises there will be no employee pay reductions as the result of the work.

“Positions may shift grades as we develop and transition to the new structure; however, employee pay will not be reduced as a result of this effort. That commitment was made to our employees at the inception of this project and it has not changed,” Shaffer wrote.

Although pay to university staff will not be reduced, there may be some increases in compensation as a result of COMP 2014.

“The project may result in increased pay in certain areas, based on our market and equity analysis; however, the university believes that pay is generally competitive, and does not expect that a large number of pay adjustments will be required. We will continue to work through all steps of the project to determine the results,” Shaffer said.

In 2009, the Department of Education (DOE) conducted a “Compensation Audit” and listed several items that the University needed to “remediate.” The University promised to make the changes by Dec. 1, 2014 in a DOE Resolution Agreement and launched COMP 2014 in April 2012.

According to the University, COMP 2014 includes:

• Establishing consistent job classification systems for the administrative and professional employees and the non-bargaining classified employees

• Create market-based pay range structures and guidelines to ensure that pay is competitive in the market

• Ensure that the compensation plans are fair and equitable in their design and implementation

• Provide career path direction for employees in these pay systems

“We are on track to complete and implement these goals within the time frame established by our agreement with DOE. As of October 2013, COMP 2014 is in the third phase of our project plan,” Shaffer said.

The university says that the goal of Phase III is to “review each individual position included in the project, identify the commonalities with other like jobs and define a subset of common jobs.

“In order to determine the fairness and equitableness of the compensation structures, we must determine how positions relate to one another – what are the commonalities and what are the differences for the purpose of fair comparison,” Shaffer added.

The university has about 1,800 individual positions that can be categorized with similar positions into about 500 jobs. Common jobs are being determined by data analysis from job questionnaires that were completed by supervisors and staff in 2012.

“We’ve made significant progress and have more comprehensive data and a better grasp of the University’s staff positions. We have more work to do in order to consolidate to an appropriate and management number of common job families and market comparable jobs,” Shaffer noted.

Over the next 12 weeks, the university, through its University Human Resources Compensation team and COMP 2014 steering committee, will have several all-day sessions with functional leaders from these job families to map positions into the appropriate job groupings (families).

“We will use industry-accepted position descriptors to concurrently develop standard job descriptions for our job families. This process creates the compensation structure required by the DOE and positions used to conduct a market analysis of the respective salaries, which is Phase IV of the project,” Shaffer said.

“During Phase IV of the project, Ohio University will obtain the market data from surveys of comparable positions among our peer higher education institutions. We will also look at market surveys of positions in general industry where appropriate,” Shaffer outlined. “We expect to have both Phase III and Phase IV complete by January 2014 so that we may move to our final phases (creation of pay structures, equity analyses and implementation) in late 2014 to comply with the DOE Resolution Agreement."

The university also noted that Karen Hudson, who has acted as director of compensation and has been a key person in the COMP 2014 project, will retire at the end of the calendar year. Shaffer does not believe, however that this loss will slow the project’s completion.

If you have questions about the COMP 2014 project or its progress, please go here for periodic updates.