The university this month began the rollout of a new
market-based compensation program that touts itself as more
flexible and rewarding of work performance and growth.
Due to the immense scope of the change, the program,
which officially became effective on July 1 and affects the
eight academic divisions, will be rolled out over the next
several months with full implementation expected by the end
of the calendar year.
In the new program, which replaces the more than
20-year-old system of numbered job "grades," each staff job
is being assigned a "role," a "level" and a market-based
salary range. The number of job titles will also be
streamlined. While many current job titles will remain the
same, the Office of
Human Resources seeks to bring more uniformity to the
use of job titles across the university, according to
Belinda Crough, the university's senior director for
The new staff compensation program applies only to
university staff members, who hold more than 9,000
positions. Corporate and administrative officers, faculty
and other academic appointees, fellows, student employees
and bargaining unit members are not included. The program
also does not apply to the Applied Physics Laboratory.
Under the new system, each job is being assigned one
of five roles-administrative/technical operations,
academic/clinical/research professional and leadership-and
one of six levels, based on the job's contribution to the
organization. Salary ranges will be assigned to each job
based on what the market is paying for similar types of
Charlene Hayes, vice president for human resources,
said that the hope is that managers and supervisors will
find the new system much easier to work with and more in
line with their day-to-day operational requirements,
especially in relation to defining jobs and in recruiting,
motivating and rewarding staff.
One major goal of the change, she said, is to reward
employees who stay in a job but, over time, take on more
responsibility and display growth in skills and
competencies. The new system does not focus on the minutia
of a staff member's job, she said, but rather on the role
the staff member plays and the manner in which he or she
contributes to the organization.
"The intent is to make it easier to recognize a staff
member's development and growth in the current job," Hayes
said. "One of the complaints that we hear all the time is,
'I have this person who is doing a fantastic job, but there
is nothing short of reclassification that I can do to get
her more money.' With this system," she said, "the person
doesn't have to be reclassified or be moved to a new job to
be recognized and rewarded for doing higher-level work."
When deciding whether to make any upward adjustments
in individual salaries, Hayes said that managers will need
to consider such factors as employee performance, equity
within the office and the availability of budget
The new system will have jobs assigned to salary
ranges based on pay in the market. However, Crough said, no
salaries will be adjusted downward as a direct result of
the new job classification, and most staff members will not
receive an increase as an immediate result of it. However,
where a staff member's current salary falls below the
minimum for the assigned salary range, that person's office
or department will be responsible for raising the salary to
"One concept that we want to bring home to staff is
that if the market says the job is worth $50,000 and the
staff member is making $47,000, that does not mean the
staff member should automatically get a $3,000 increase. In
this case, $50,000 is the average salary in the market;
there are individuals in the marketplace who are paid below
and above $50,000," Crough said.
A staff member's job title could also change in the
new system. Crough said that the university has tended to
use a unique job title for the majority of its 9,000-plus
staff positions. "Also, depending on where a staff member
works in the university, one could be called an assistant
director and another could be called a manager, but they
are doing identical or very similar jobs. If that is the
case, we will assign them the same job title.
The extensive staff compensation study was begun in
August 2004 with the assistance of Watson Wyatt
consultants. The university's old system, which assigned a
pay grade for each and every job, was viewed as cumbersome
to maintain, hard to understand and unresponsive to the
changing and dynamic work environment at Johns Hopkins,
according to Hayes.
The opportunity to replace the current system
presented itself with the onset of the HopkinsOne project,
a massive effort to re-engineer all the university's and
health system's financial and administrative processes, one
of which is human resources. The core components of
HopkinsOne are scheduled to go live in January 2007.
For the past year, Human Resources staff have
consulted with managers and
used the results of those conversations to classify jobs
under the new system.
Department managers and supervisors are currently
participating in training workshops to familiarize
themselves with the program. If they have not already,
managers and supervisors will receive the new job
classifications for their staff over the next few months.
All are targeting discussions with each staff member before
the end of the calendar year.
Hayes said that the initial response to the new system
has been very favorable, but she admits it will take some
time for everyone to fully understand how it works.
"It's a huge change and culture shift," she said. "It
will take employees some time to get used to the new
system. One of our goals is to demystify the staff
compensation program so employees can understand how job
classification and pay decisions are made. I think they
will see the benefits of the new system over time."
For more on the new staff compensation program and its
implementation, go to