A key piece of implementing the new market-based classification and compensation system for Iowa State's 3,200 professional and scientific (P&S) staff is for employees to affirm their assigned job profile (or title). That process has begun with job titles shared in emails to managers (June 22) and employees (June 29).
The next step is a candid conversation between employee and manager. The key question for them is: Does the assigned job profile accurately reflect the majority (50% or more) of the work I do and the responsibility placed in me, said Emma Mallarino Haughton, classification and compensation director in university human resources (UHR).
If the answer is yes, the profile assignment is final and nothing more needs to be done. If the answer is no or even maybe not, the employee or manager may request a title review. This additional review is optional, Mallarino Houghton noted.
"We want to ensure that the job profile assigned to an employee is the best possible fit. However, we also want to be sure managers and employees understand that the job profile is not intended to be a perfect match," Mallarino Houghton said. "It should describe the primary functions of the job and level of work as accurately as possible."
A requirement of developing job profiles in the new system was reviewing the exemption status of each for compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In collaboration with university counsel staff, UHR staff determined 69 of the 588 new P&S job profiles are considered nonexempt based on the duties performed, not salary (though employees must meet federal standards for both to be deemed nonexempt). Mallarino Houghton said a request for review also would be the way to ask for a second look at an employee's exempt/nonexempt status.
"In this scenario, the rationale for another status should be clearly articulated in the request for review, and UHR will take specific steps in partnership with the office of university counsel to ensure this review happens as holistically as possible," Mallarino Houghton said.
She noted that requesting a review does not guarantee a change in an employee's job profile or exemption status. But it is the avenue for asking the question.
Does it fit?
Mallarino Houghton urged employees and managers to be cautious about making comparisons to other employees across the university as part of their job profile discussion. She said misclassifications exist in the 28-year-old current P&S system that will retire soon. She also said the new jobs structure contains more job profiles and offers more classification options, so employees currently in the same classification may be assigned to more accurate -- but different -- job profiles in the new system. And, as the university uses the new classification and compensation system, employees who view themselves now as similarly situated may not be over time.
"Variables such as an employee's experience and performance, or a unit's need for a particular level of work would inform the growth of a position, for example, the level of complexity needed for the same job in a large or complex unit versus a smaller, less complex unit," Mallarino Houghton said.
Friday, July 24, is the deadline to submit a profile review and/or FLSA exemption status review request. The request form is online, and it asks the submitter to indicate the primary reason(s) a job profile assignment is inaccurate and provide a brief supporting rationale. Employees submitting a request for review need to confirm they've discussed their job title assignment with their manager.
For those P&S employees who request a review by the deadline, here's what happens next:
- UHR classification/compensation routes the request to the local HR service delivery team, which contacts the employee and manager separately for more information and discussion.
- HR service delivery team sends its conclusion back to UHR classification/compensation for a final review.
- By mid to late August, UHR classification/compensation emails the final job profile to the employee, copying the manager and HR partner.
Documents to guide employees
Aids on the project's resources website that will help employees and managers assess the appropriateness of a job profile assignment are:
- Understanding the new P&S classification structure. A 15-minute video about the new P&S classification/compensation structure.
- Title discussion talking points. A summary of reminders, online resources and questions to answer.
- Title review guide (separate but similar versions for managers and employees). A step-by-step checklist for assessing the accuracy of a job profile assignment.
- Title review process chart. A summary of what should occur between the time when P&S employees learn their new job profile, and July 24, when forms are due for those who request a job title review.
- Title review FAQ. Answers to about 20 common questions on the new classification/compensation system, what changes because of it (and what doesn't), and how to request a review.