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Dear Workforce How Do We Seamlessly Change Our Job Evaluation System

Dear Juggling:

First, let’s explain the difference between the two approaches. A point-factor system involves evaluating various factors relative to skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions to determine the value of the job.

Job slotting is used in conjunction with the market-pricing job evaluation method. It’s a system for placing jobs that you cannot “market price” into the hierarchy of jobs.

Your type of project requires some careful planning and preparation. In particular, you should address three areas of consideration. First, you’ll need to do some basic research on a number of issues. If you are making the move to a pure market-pricing system for job evaluation, decide how you will address Equal Pay Act issues. The Act requires that jobs of the same value–determined by level of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions in the same location–be in the same pay range. Many companies neglect this aspect.

Second, you’ll need to redesign your job descriptions. They will still, however, need to have essential functions identified in order to comply with the ADA, as well as enough depth for an assessment of Fair Labor Standards Act status.

Next, involve employees in the process. As you roll out the project, ask employees to help you rewrite their job descriptions. Ask managers to review the descriptions. Establish due dates, provide templates, and train your HR generalists to consult with managers and employees as needed. The generalists can also assist with required follow-up. If descriptions are generally older than three to five years, it’s definitely time to rewrite them. In any case, employee and managerial involvement is an important element of success. Take the time to do this right.

This ties in closely with communication, which is the most important aspect of the project. As you begin to examine jobs, employees will quickly begin to figure out that something’s up. So, it’s best to have a communication plan. Pre-sell the change, send updates during the project, and communicate specific results when they’re known. A good communications plan considers the company, manager, and employee viewpoints. Here are some key questions to answer:

  • Why are you implementing this change?
  • What is the business case or rationale?
  • Can it be easily explained to–and understood by–employees and managers?
  • Do they understand what market pricing is?
  • Do you have union locations where the change must be negotiated?
  • What is the risk of backlash? Will managers accept the outcome with minimal changes? How will you address situations in which job values fall?
  • How will internal equity and “leveling” play out in this new system?
  • What messages will resonate with employees and with managers?

The initial communication is generally from the senior leadership team (not the HR

VP) to managers explaining the importance of the initiative to the business, and that all managers need to make this a priority (this is probably the hardest battle you will fight, but well worth the outcome).

During the process, you will get specific questions from employees and from managers. I recommend you put together a list of frequently asked questions. Post in on a project Web site or Intranet, and distribute it to managers. Some of the questions you will get include things like:

  • How am I affected?
  • My salary grade/midpoint/market range went up/down. What does this mean for future pay increases?
  • How does market pricing work?
  • What surveys do you use?
  • What other companies do you compare our jobs to? My staff’s jobs are different. Did you consider that factor in your assessment?
  • Are all jobs priced in the market?

Try to be comprehensive while keeping the list as short as possible. No one wants to dig through 30 pages of FAQs to find answers. Organize the FAQs by topic.

SOURCE: Robert Fulton, managing director,The Pathfinder’s Group, Inc., an affiliate of The Chatfield Group, Chicago, Illinois, March 27, 2003

LEARN MORE: Read howNCCI Holdings Inc. developed an innovative evaluation system.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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