University hires consultant to study job titles and compensation

February 9, 2017 By Greg Bump

The University of Wisconsin–Madison and UW System have signed a letter of intent to work with Mercer Consulting to help guide the Title and Total Compensation Study.

Mercer will provide technical expertise in the development of new title and compensation structures.  As a leader in compensation consulting, Mercer has worked with organizations across all industries. A specialized Mercer higher education unit consults with more than 390 higher education clients to develop and maintain programs and practices that support the attraction, retention and engagement of faculty, staff and administrators.

UW–Madison is collaborating with the UW System on the redesign of the current job titling and compensation structures. The goal of the study is to best position the institutions to attract and retain the best talent.

The Title and Total Compensation Study will cover the entire UW System, including UW–Madison and UW-Milwaukee, the two major research institutions, and the 11 four-year comprehensive universities, 13 freshman-sophomore institutions and the statewide UW-Extension.

The launch date for the study is March 2017, with completion expected in March 2019.

“This is our first study of this kind in more than 30 years,” says Wayne Guthrie, UW–Madison’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “We have over 1,800 job titles at UW–Madison. A purpose of this is to clearly define a career framework that would provide guidance to employees and supervisors.”

The study is part of the HR Design strategic plan, an effort to build a more efficient and effective human resource system at UW–Madison.  An HR Design work team that reviewed job titles and compensation on campus concluded that many current titles do not clearly describe jobs they represent, are not used consistently across the campus and may limit opportunities for employees to progress.

The study will look at titles and total compensation for academic and university staff, post-degree training positions and limited (executive and administrative) appointees in comparison to institution-specific peers and competitors. The review will include identifying leading practices in benefits (other than health insurance and retirement, which are administered by the state) for faculty and staff. In addition, the study will review compensation for graduate teaching, research and program assistants.

Campus community members will have opportunities to provide input into the study through campus forums and focus groups, says Laurent Heller, UW–Madison vice chancellor for finance and administration.

“The success of UW–Madison is dependent on recruiting and retaining the best and most talented faculty and staff,” Heller says. “This vital initiative will be key to maintaining and enhancing the excellence of our workforce. We look forward to broadly engaging the university community on this important study.”

Mercer was chosen following a request for proposal process that involved interested providers submitting proposals based on the UW’s extensive study requirements. The study’s advisory council provided valuable input in the development of the study requirements Members of the advisory council are:

Advisory Council

Susan Babcock, Professor, UW–Madison College of Engineering

Denise Ehren, Program Associate, UW-Whitewater

Terry Fritter, ART Advanced, UW–Madison

Holly Hassel, Professor, UW Colleges

John Krogman, COO, Division of I.T., UW–Madison

Tammy McGuckin, Dean of Students, UW-Parkside

Heather McFadden, Director, RCR Education, UW–Madison

Bethany Pluymers, Assoc. Dean for Administration, UW–Madison Law School

Jenny Resch, Director, Outreach & Student Affairs, UW-Stevens Point

Steve Wildeck, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, CBO, UW Colleges/Extension

Advisory Council Co-Chairs

Mark Mone, Chancellor, UW-Milwaukee

Sarah Mangelsdorf, Provost, UW–Madison

Executive Sponsors

Raymond Cross, President, UW System

Rebecca Blank, Chancellor, UW–Madison

Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, UW–Madison

Robert Cramer, Vice President for Administration, UW System

Planning Team

Shenita Brokenburr, Sr. Associate Vice President, Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity, and UW Service Center

Wayne Guthrie, Chief Human Resources Officer, Office of Human Resources, UW–Madison

Mark Walters, Sr. Director of Operations, Office of Human Resources, UW–Madison

Mary Luther, Director of Compensation and Titling, Office of Human Resources, UW–Madison

Margo Lessard, Senior Special Assistant and Interim Director, Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity

David J. Miller, Director of Human Resources, UW-Eau Claire