Town hall meeting, letters to homes key parts of compensation rollout

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Campuswide town hall meetings and informational letters mailed to the home of each member of Western Michigan University's Staff Compensation System will highlight the rollout next week of the results of the Staff Compensation Project.

On Tuesday, May 19, letters will be mailed to each staff member's home. The letters will outline the individual's annual salary or hourly pay rate, job title and pay grade in the new compensation structure. The details outlined in the letters will be effective with the July 1 start of the 2015-16 fiscal year. 

Town hall meetings

Also on May 19, two town hall meetings will be held in Brown Auditorium—Room 2000—of Schneider Hall. The meetings at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. will offer staff members the opportunity to hear the new project results outlined and explained as well as have their questions answered. Jan Van Der Kley, vice president for business and finance, and Warren Hills, associate vice president for human resources, will lead the discussions along with a representative of Aon Hewitt, the national firm engaged by the University to help develop the market-based pay structure.

According to Hills, preliminary data show that about 27 percent of employees in the Staff Compensation System will see an increase to their annual salary or hourly pay rates as a result of the effort. As announced earlier in the process, no one will experience any reduction to pay.

"This has been an incredibly complex effort that impacts nearly 1,300 campus employees," Hills says. "There's still much more to do as we prepare to implement the new structure and put mechanisms and protocols in place to maintain the structure and evaluate, as needed, the jobs it encompasses. But we're on schedule and at a milestone that allows us to broadly share the results of the initiative."

Campus supervisors are asked to arrange staff schedules on May 19 to allow all interested employees an opportunity to attend. Supervisors, many of whom are themselves part of the staff compensation system, are encouraged to attend one of the sessions to have their own questions answered and to learn about the process used to develop the new structure so they will be prepared to answer questions posed by those they supervise. Each meeting will last for approximately 90 minutes.

Watch the town hall meetings online

Both town hall meetings will be live streamed and the recorded sessions will be available online approximately one hour after the live feed concludes. Viewers may need to download Silverlight to watch the live stream or the recorded video.

About the Staff Compensation Project

A total of 1,270 WMU staff positions are part of the University's Staff Compensation System. Last fall, about 83 percent of the employees in those positions helped develop the new structure by completing a job content tool that laid out, in detail, the responsibilities of the University positions they hold. That detail was integrated with data previously gathered, and the combined information was used by Aon Hewitt to compare the WMU positions to similar positions in the marketplace.

Some 30 local, regional and national market surveys were used to match WMU jobs and develop the new pay structure. In addition to the market surveys, the qualities used to evaluate positions included such internal factors as impact, reporting structures and the leadership demands inherent to each position. External factors considered included the ability of the University to recruit and retain people with the necessary skill sets for a position.

The 13 pay-grade categories in the old structure have been replaced by 10 categories now identified by letters. The newly drawn categories cover broader salary ranges and job responsibilities.

In addition to the new pay structure, a new system of standardizing position titles across the University is part of the information rolling out with the new pay structure. The new titling guidelines were designed to provide consistency of managerial titling across the University, ensure consistency in institutional reporting to federal agencies and allow the University to more closely match WMU positions to the external market moving forward.

"It's important to note that the new job titling guidelines and decisions about the pay grades in which jobs were slotted in the new pay structure were all based on the nature, scope and impact of each job evaluated," Hills says. "We asked those who know those jobs best—our employees—to help us ensure the new structure is fair and based on the most accurate information possible."

More information

A complete narrative following the work completed by the Staff Compensation Project team is available online at The website includes the answers to frequently asked questions. Those questions and answers will be updated following the May 19 town hall meetings.

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