1.What is NU Values?
A compensation, classification, performance management, and reward system covering the Managerial/Professional and Office/Service employees of the University of Nebraska.
It is a system that focuses pay on contribution and performance while it provides effective and equitable rates of pay to individuals in these positions.
2.How is NU Values different from what the University has used to compensate jobs in the past?
In the past, all jobs were arranged into a series of grades based upon a single set of criteria. Incumbent pay and pay grades were adjusted annually and positions were individually evaluated for potential reclassification when significant changes in assigned duties occurred. NU Values changes classification and compensation by organizing jobs into Families with broader ranges of pay that provide room for job/incumbent growth. Besides recognizing incremental and significant changes in duties, pay will also be based on competency growth and contribution by the employee. Performance evaluations will be uniform and focus on a common set of well-defined core competencies that support the mission and strategic direction of the University. It encourages development through job changes and growth in an employee’s current job. NU Values purpose is to provide effective, equitable, and market relevant rates of compensation to University employees in addition to identifying salary levels needed to attract highly qualified employees.
3. Why did the university decide to implement NU Values?
University employees and administrators have indicated their desire to see a different approach to determining pay and developing new ways of thinking about career growth, performance expectations and performance evaluation. The NU Values program is a way to link performance of employees to the mission and the strategic plan of the University while changing how jobs are structured, how performance is measured, and how pay is determined. It focuses on job families as the basis for market relevance and equity in pay decisions. It provides the tools for the growth and development of employees. The program provides an open framework whereby the tools and processes used to make pay decisions are widely known.
4. How will NU Values be administered in my department?
Since each campus has different resources, campus-specific policies and procedures, and department and organizational unit structures, NU Values is designed for flexible administration to meet campus needs. The Human Resource Department and unit administrators are responsible for implementing and managing compensation in each department. Many of the decisions previously approved by Human Resources will now be the responsibility of leadership within the departments and/or colleges. Human Resources will coordinate the administration of the program by developing framework forms and procedures to facilitate the consistent application and administration of policies related to NU Values. HR will continue to assist administrators by providing critical information to support sound decisions on job title, job family and zone placement, and pay changes during and after conversion to NU Values.
5. Who has the final decisions on how NU Values decisions are made in my department?
NU Values does not re-write the lines of authority and decision-making in a department, rather it moves final authority on pay decisions to those individuals, where previously some level of Human Resources agreement or approval was required. The leadership within an organizational unit, to include supervisors, business managers, unit administrators, deans or directors and chancellors/vice chancellors will make decisions for each department and college. Human Resources will continue to determine policy and guide decisions involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption or managerial/professional versus office/service status. Most of the decisions regarding pay will be made by the designated leader.
6. How will NU Values affect me as an employee of the University?
NU Values will affect the way in which each employee’s job is structured, how performance is measured and how pay is determined. It is a system that will encourage employees and supervisors to develop clear objectives and paths to plan for career growth. Its goal is to empower each employee to increase personal responsibility for accomplishments within their jobs. Supervisors will utilize communication and coaching skills and have a greater interactive leadership capacity with each employee.
7. What is a Job Family?
Job Families are groupings of jobs related by common vocations/professions. They have similar market competitive pay characteristics, related key behaviors, and a continuum of knowledge, skills and abilities which range from the lowest to the highest level job. Developing job families is a process in which jobs are organized to establish clear distinctions among job titles, support cross training and encourage staff to work across traditional job boundaries. There are 15 job families within NU Values.
8. What is meant by “Competencies”?
Competencies are the knowledge, skills, abilities and individual attributes that contribute to enhanced employee performance and organizational success. They are used for employee performance, development, compensation, promotion, and training decisions. They reflect the organization’s mission and goals and focus on its culture and values. Personal development and career growth is driven by how results are achieved and competencies provide the manner in which employees demonstrate their performance. Competencies are measurable and observable actions.
9. What is a Job Family Zone?
Job Family Zones reflect the differing levels of duties, responsibilities, competencies and impact that are present within a family of occupations. Each job family has been divided into four groups of jobs based on these recognizable and measurable differences. The four groups or zones in NU Values are: Assistant, Associate, Specialist and Senior.
10. Who decides in which job family and zone my position is located?
Human Resources and an outside consulting firm developed the process for identifying differences among positions in the job families. The process resulted in the development of universal criteria for identifying the appropriate zone. Human Resources used this criteria to assign certain benchmark jobs to families and zones and then generally applied it to the rest of the jobs in order to assign them to families and zones. Unit leaders reviewed and approved the initial job family and zone assignments. In the future as existing jobs change or new jobs are created, unit leaders will work with Human Resources to determine the appropriate job family and zone by matching the job description of the new or revised job to the zone criteria.
11. What is meant by the term “Key Behaviors”?
Key Behaviors are meaningful, observable, and measurable statements that describe desirable actions and expectations for the performance of core competencies. They are tailored to jobs found in each job family. A library of key behaviors can be found on the NU Values website.
12. What is a Job Analysis and how is it used in NU Values?
Job analysis is the process used to organize jobs into a structure. In NU Values the structure is a system of 15 job families each sub-divided into four zones. The rationale for assigning jobs into the families and zones is based upon criteria commonly used in organizations for differentiating jobs within a structure. These criteria are described in the Master Matrix found on the NU Values web site. The criteria in the Master Matrix is used when a new position is created or when an existing position has changed significantly. There are five criteria in the Master Matrix: Knowledge, skills and abilities used when performing the job, problem solving and decision-making required to complete the job, the nature of interactions with others while conducting the job, supervision received and/or exercised, and the impact of the job on the unit, other units or the rest of the campus. For the purpose of setting pay, job analysis identifies the relative value of positions that are not surveyed in the general labor market to those whose values that are known through the salary survey process.
13. What is the difference between a “system title” and a “working title”?
A system job title is a combination of the job family and zone names. A working job title is more specific and descriptive, and is based on the job that is actually being performed. The organizational unit leadership will determine the working title for each position. This title will be the primary identifier when matching university positions to the general labor market. Many job titles will remain the same or similar to those used prior to NU Values.
14. Will my job title change with NU Values?
Job titles were generally reviewed for consistency as jobs were grouped into families. Most job titles remain the same or similar to those used prior to NU Values unless a change is warranted to enhance the meaningfulness of the job title.
15. How and when will salary increases occur?
The NU Values system identifies a number of ways in which pay could change. When funding is available and the reason for changing pay is appropriate, there is a mechanism for making the change. NU Values is purposefully designed to be flexible to enable leaders to assign duties responsibilities to meet organizational needs and respond with rewards in an acceptable, affordable, and meaningful way. Some of the many ways in which a job may change and an employee rewarded include promotion to a job in a higher zone and advancement to a job with greater responsibility in the same zone. Some ways that an employee may contribute more and be rewarded occurs when there is an increase in the level of the employee’s competencies relating to the assigned job duties or when performance of assigned tasks is noticeably above the norm or expectation. Other changes may occur when the pay for the job is determined to be so far out-of-sink with the same job in the external or internal labor market that a pay adjustment is needed.
16. Has the timing or procedure for giving a performance increase changed under NU Values?
According to Executive Memoranda, performance increases shall be granted twice a year, on January 1 and July 1.
17. What is a “salary band” and what criteria are used to determine salary ranges for positions?
Each job family has its own broad salary band. It reflects that each job family is unique and has its own pay characteristics. The NU Values pay structure shall consist of a set of 15 salary bands and each with four zones with minimum and maximum rates of pay. Labor market surveys will be used to establish these rates. Human Resources will obtain and apply the salary survey data in order to build and update the pay structures. The University will provide market relevant pay and set salary ranges at levels to attract and retain exceptional employees. This data will continually be evaluated to ensure that the pay bands remain market relevant.
18. Is there an appeal process if there is disagreement with a job family/zone assignment of a position?
A request for an additional review may be made by following the procedures listed in campus-specific policies. Decisions regarding job family and zone assignments may not be appealed through the formal grievance process.
19. What is “performance engagement”?
Performance Engagement is the performance appraisal system that links each job to the University’s strategic plan and overall mission. It is an ongoing communication process between employees and their supervisors, helping them to identify and develop competencies and enhance contribution to organizational objectives.
20. How important is my job description in NU Values?
A position description is a written statement that describes the work that is to be done and the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the work. It enhances an understanding of what is expected and required in a job. It also provides a basis for: performance appraisal standards, identifying career paths, salary survey comparisons and assist in compliance with regulatory requirements. Each position will have a job description identifying duties, responsibilities, qualifications, the nature of the work, decision-making, interactions, organizational impact and supervision received and exercised.