Eastern Michigan University

Human Resources

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The Compensation office is responsible for developing compensation programs, policies, and approaches that meet our unique needs to attract and retain our diverse workforce.

Human Resources people

Classification Review Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a classification system?

A classification system is a systematic process for grouping jobs into common classifications based on similarities in duties, responsibilities, and requirements. The emphasis of the classification system will be on broader classifications wherever possible. In other words, when positions have sufficiently similar duties, responsibilities, and requirements they are appropriately classified in one job classification.

2. Why are classification review conducted?

  • The most common reasons that classification reviews are conducted are as follows:
  • Gradual changes in job duties being performed by the incumbent
  • Changes in organizational relationships and responsibilities
  • Recruitment/retention problems
  • Changes in job requirements as delegated by management

3. What happens during a classification review?

A classification review requires a significant amount of investigation and inquiry by the job analyst and has a good deal of "process" to follow. The job analyst looks at various classification allocation factors in determining the appropriate classification, such as, but not limited to:

  • Decision making responsibilities, experience, education, and/or certifications
  • Scope and complexity of work
  • Nature and purpose of contact with clients and customers (internal and external)
  • Required knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Supervision received and exercised
  • Working conditions and physical effort
  • Organizational level, size, and scope

Recommendations may include reallocating a position to a different department and classification, developing a new classification, changing the existing classification, or determining that the position is appropriately classified and no change is needed. The process typically includes:

  • Reviewing all pertinent documentation and information, with one of the most critical pieces of information being provided by a subject matter expert, incumbent(s) (if applicable), and reviewed by a supervisor and job analyst
  • Conducting interviews and/or desk audits with the subject matter experts(s) and in some cases gathering information from other employees who perform similar work
  • Communicating with supervisors/managers to confirm and clarify the validity of the information collected Conducting research of similar classifications or organizational structures within the University
  • Researching specific "industry" information • Studying existing job classifications
  • Analyzing the job data (e.g. FLSA Designation, EEO Job Group, SOC, Job Family, ECLS, Grade, etc.)
  • Developing and/or updating job classification specifications
  • Developing and then presenting a preliminary report and recommendation(s) to interested parties
  • Communicating with interested parties on the preliminary report and recommendation(s)
  • Developing and presenting the final classification justification to the interested parties

4. How long does it take to reclassify my position(s)?

On average, the request may take up to a month to review in addition to approval, notification, and paperwork processing time. The length of time that it takes to review a request has several determining factors including:

  • Complexity of request
  • Grade
  • Multi-incumbent Classification
  • Proposed Compensation Adjustments
  • Whether or not a funding source is Identified
  • Completeness of paperwork at time of delivery to the HR Business Partner

5. What factors do not justify a reclassification?

The factors that do not justify reclassification include, but are not limited to:

  • Performance of the incumbent in the position
  • Reclassification should not be considered a reward or means to promote
  • Retention of a specific employee
  • Increase in workload that is of the same nature and complexity (volume) – this is a workload or job enlargement issue, not a classification issue
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities possessed by the incumbent which are not required or regularly used in the position
  • Desired compensation changes
  • Technological modifications or tools (e.g. new software, tools, and/or equipment) that does not significantly alter the essential functions of the job, particularly if the industry is similarly changing to the new technology
  • Job anxiety 

6. What are the factors that justify a reclassification?

The factors that may justify reclassification include:

  • Change in type of work and essential functions (e.g. The Administrative Associate II is now performing Accounting responsibilities)
  • Change in lead/supervisory responsibilities
  • Change in authority for making significant decisions and/or in developing, recommending, and interpreting policies and procedures
  • Change in the scope of how the work impacts the organization
  • Addition of stronger, more complex duties (e.g. job enrichment) or elimination of duties
  • Change in managerial structure or a mandate that affects reporting relationships and level in the organization

These factors must be significant overall in order to justify reclassification. For example, if the results of the analysis indicate that a position is found to have a new function that is not currently within the scope of the current classification, and this new function is found to only be 5-10% of the overall duties of the position, reclassification is not likely. 

7. Who can ask for a classification study and where do I find the form?

Department Heads, employees, or collective bargaining units may submit a classification study request to Human Resources. Approval can be obtained by contacting your assigned HR Business Partner. However, the requesting party must provide a compelling rationale within the request clearly documenting the classification concerns in order for Human Resources to accept and assign the study.

8. When should a request to study a position for possible reclassification be submitted?

Requests should be submitted when there have been substantial and/or major changes that appear to be ongoing in an incumbent's duties and responsibilities, mainly in the level of complexity, decision making authority, positional scope, required knowledge and abilities. These changes are often predicated by modifications in legislation or state and/or federal mandates, or evolve over time as departments restructure.

9. How is the incumbent involved in the study?

The incumbent's role is to thoroughly and accurately participate in the job analysis process and provide clear and concise information including but not limited to: questionnaire, interview and/or desk audit regarding the work that is being performed in the position. The incumbent may also participate in communications and provide opinions on the preliminary report and recommendation(s).

Due to the sensitive nature of the incumbent(s) having a vested interested in the outcome of a classification study, it is important for all interested parties to understand that a classification study is the evaluation of a position or group of positions, not a study of the incumbent(s). An incumbent's performance on the job is not considered in a study.

10. An employee is really effective and efficient within their current responsibilities and his/her manager has been delegating additional assignments. Many of these assignments aren't listed in the class spec for their position. Should the manager or employee ask to have this position reclassified?

Not necessarily. Most of the University's job classifications have been written "broadly" to be able to incorporate a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Employees can perform duties outside of what is specifically stated in a class spec as long as those duties are within the overall purpose, scope, and level of the classification.

If the additional duties are temporary in nature (e.g. special project, working out of class, additional compensation arrangements, etc) the class spec won't be modified.

If the duties that are assigned are not appropriate, then when operationally possible, the duties should be reassigned to a more appropriate position. Only if the additional duties cannot be reassigned and are anticipated to be ongoing, should a reclassification study be requested.

11. If Human Resources does review a position, does this mean the employee will get more money?

Not necessarily. A classification review does not guarantee a pay adjustment.There are several possible conclusions to a classification study.

  • Human Resources may determine that an employee is in the correct job classification
  • The employee may be reclassified into a job classification which compensates the same, more, or less than the current job classification
  • Human Resources may determine that a new job classification needs to be created, and will conduct a compensation analysis at that time to assure the new job classification is slotted in the appropriate pay grade or broadband and/or competitive with market
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