This message is sent on behalf of David Agosti, president of APSA.

Dear APSA members,

As promised, here are my thoughts about the job evaluation section of the Joint Compensation Review Committee (JCRC) mediated settlement.

First, let's consider what a job evaluation (JE) system is. A job evaluation system determines the worth of jobs relative to each other within the organization and sets “internal equity” regarding pay between positions.

The job description (JD), and its language therein, is used to compare positions.

Some JE systems, like the Hay system, are points based. That means the system assigns “points” to various work factors, and the point total determines your pay. Points could be awarded for the number of people a position supervises, or the amount of budgetary control they have. A pay grade is assigned based on the point total.

Well before the recent mediation, the University unilaterally implemented the Hay JE system. APSA approached the University about being involved, as JE is a key component of “total compensation” and the Colin Taylor Award required us to jointly recommend a total compensation package. How could APSA recommend something if we were excluded from its development and implementation?

The University not only refused to involve us in the process, they refused to give us the details of the process: how jobs were evaluated, which jobs, what the individual results were, etc.

APSA members contacted us with their frustrations. There was no system in place to understand why positions had done down (or up), and no system of review or appeal. The University was unwilling to tell APSA which positions were most impacted.

As part of the mediation process, there is something called “document discovery”. The mediator ordered the University to release documents to APSA. As a result we discovered that:

  • 6% (94) of APSA positions were “anomalized” (went down), 61% stayed the same (or weren't reviewed), and 33% went up in pay grade.
  • The Hay system puts different weights on different words. For example: review, assess, or evaluate may have different weights despite them often being written interchangeably.
  • For many positions, the JD that was used to re-evaluate the position was very old and either didn't reflect the actual work being done or may have used wording that didn't get the correct number of points under the Hay system.

Paragraph four of  the JCRC mediated settlement covers JE.

Generally speaking, APSA was awarded almost all of what we asked for, but the wording says that the JCRC makes “recommendations”. If these recommendations are reasonable, and the University chooses not to implement them, APSA is ready to proceed back to the mediator for a ruling.

The settlement includes recommending:

  • A review/appeal process which would allow people who believe their JE did not deliver the proper results an appeal process. If such a process is industry standard, it would be tough for the University to reject it in “good faith.”
  • A process for re-evaluating old JD's: as described earlier, language matters. This allows for people with old JDs to update them (and hopefully be re-evaluated upwards).
  • Training on writing JD's for the Hay system: again, as mentioned earlier, language matters. This ensures that managers have the right words to describe the job functions.

If you feel your job was re-evaluated incorrectly, let APSA know! We can then include that when we look at the appeal, re-evaluation, and training processes.

Especially if you are a manager and you expect to be involved in writing (or re-writing) JD's for your staff, let APSA know, so that we can ask to include you in the training. Remember, JE is based on internal equity so the more accurately you describe your staff's job, the more accurately your job (as their supervisor) will then be evaluated.

All APSA members should take this opportunity to review their job descriptions for age and accuracy.

Although it is not explicit, the settlement strongly implies that the Colin Taylor Award meant APSA should have been involved in this process — more on that in a week when we talk about other aspects of the award.


David Agosti

President, APSA