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So, about that job study...

| 22 Comments
Everyone who participated in the job study last August should have received the news about their new classification by yesterday. So, how did it go? What do you think, after all is said and done? Did you land where you thought you would? Are you disappointed by anything?

Let's have a forum for everyone's thoughts here in the comments section.

22 Comments

Kelly, thanks for starting this discussion. It's important for us to stay involved in this process to refine the results.
Last summer's surveys gathered the data. For me and everyone I have talked to, the new job classifications that came out do a fair job of grouping the data.
Now that we can read these new job descriptions (at least the one assigned to each of us) it is important for us to respond to them.
I know that my new job description leaves out a fair bit of what I do -- no doubt because it wasn't included in the survey originally. I think I was wrongly classified. But it's hard to be sure without seeing the other job descriptions. So I am asking to see the descriptions adjacent to mine. If none of them fit, then I will be inquiring further.
What does everyone else think?
Did you have any negative or positive surprises?

I was unimpressed that they moved forward with info sessions when almost all their information was still in draft or entirely unavailable.

Everything still seems very much lumped together with descriptions that are too general. They just removed all the outmoded language and set new ranges (the median of which the majority of us will never see).

Seems the two objectives for this process were unmet.

1) To establish a professional classification for communications, marketing, publication relations.

Most of us were reclassified to civil service rather than P & A....so it look as if our area is not considered to be professional classification.

2) To create a ladder for growing one's career at the U of MN

Again there is some misunderstanding as to what it means to be a communication professional. Increased accountability and decision-making don't seem to meet the bar for advancement. Only supervision of employees makes the grade....many areas/departments/units are restricted by tight budgets to make this a reality.

Also the questionnaire contained bias toward supervision, so it was weighted prior to our input.

It was a good start to a reclassification for our area but it seems to have stopped short of a meaningful change...seems to be based more at keeping a budgetary line. This, in fact, is a valid way of reclassification - using budgetary guidelines - but expectations should be managed more appropriately, so that we are not expecting a much different picture.


Some people have been writing to me privately and sharing their frustrations that they haven't received any communications about their results yet; this seems to be happening more in smaller units where someone is the only communicator on staff and reports to a non-communicator.

If you are a sole communicator, what has your experience been like? Are you hearing from your supervisor?

I also understood that this project was to create a career ladder/path for professional growth at the University. Yet after learning what classification I would now be placed in, which by the way was down, not up, I asked what I would have to do to move up to the next level. I was told either someone would have to be hired lower than me to take over my duties or I would have to move to another unit to move up.

Frankly, it is demeaning, demoralizing, and unmotivating to be placed into a classification that requires only two years of professional experience (after having worked in communications for more than 25) and then to read the sentence that states: You will note that you have been placed in this position even if you do not currently meet the qualifications for this new position.

I will be appealing.

Thanks for having this discussion. I hope everyone weighs in. I am a "sole communicator" and have not heard any results. Are they being sent directly to the employees? Or only to the supervisors?

Also, agree with previous poster that it seems to be the same-old same-old in regards to having to supervise others to be promoted. This does not a career path make.

I'm one of the communicators who is still waiting to learn where I landed in the job family. So far my experience has been very frustrating and confusing. When I received the initial invitation to fill out the questionnaire for the "study", I had no idea that HR was going to be changing our job classifications. My supervisor did not understand that was the intention either, and said she would have given more thoughtful answers if she knew how this information was going to be used.

I will likely have more opinions when I finally learn where I'm going to be reclassified. So no one is getting to see all the job descriptions other than their own? That sure is not a transparent process!

I fell into a classification that was explained to me as being "entry level" or "just out of college" level. I have been in a communications role for almost 10 years now and it is pretty disheartening to be lumped together with "entry level" employees.

I feel like the appeal process would be a waste of time. Am I wrong?

As a communicator, I was frustrated that all correspondence related to this study was vague about what the results would mean to employees. At the info session, I spent much of the time worrying that I would be taking a pay cut, lose my working title, or see a diminished level of responsibility in my role. I think it would have been better for HR to lead with the outcome of the study as it applied to employees, before digging into the complex rationale of the study.

That session was the very first time that I understood that my title was to change, and it was even announced that some would have their salaries affected. I found the session to be extremely alarming.

Does anyone know if all the new job descriptions are available somewhere? I would like to see what the others are, to find out if there is another that better fits what I do. Seems like a question that many people will have.

Will titles necessarily change? I thought only the job class changed and the titles could stay the same.

In case anyone missed it, the info page for this study and classification change, including appeal process, is here:

As I understand it, if you want to appeal, you need to rework your job description (with your supervisor) and the survey answers to show either new work that has been added to your duties since you did the survey or work that you have been doing but didn't mention in the survey results. I think it was easy to leave things out of the survey.

Looks like the blog won't let me enter a URL.
search for it on the OHR website. It's under job classification & compensation.

Does anyone know the difference between "second-level" and "third-level" professional communications work? It's frustrating looking at the job class description and not know what the terms mean. I checked the website noted above and there is little relevant information there. I'm also wondering if anyone from small units were consulted. It seems everything is geared towards staff who work in big departments, leaving out of the picture communicators in small units who do everything - and because the units are so small, will never be able to supervise. From the very little I've been permitted to see, it doesn't seem like these descriptions reflect what most of us actually do.

I found out through an email (that was sent to my supervisor at the same time; it was the first time she heard the results). Tacky. I am not happy about the decision and also will be appealing. I've been "demoted" to a lower rung on the ladder and find this whole thing to be demoralizing and detrimental to those of us who make the University run!

Regarding second-level vs. third-level communications work. That's a good question. How is this determined? Is it about the audience you're writing for? Is it about the subject complexity? Is it developing original content or editing someone else's words? Is it about strategy?

Please see my latest post on this for a PDF of 6 of the new job descriptions. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/forcomm/umcf/2012/03/about-that-job-study-part-2.html

I think the use of the word "consultant" for the top levels is totally weird. To me, a consultant is someone brought in for a short time who then leaves. A consultant is someone tangential to the organization, not a real part of it. A consultant is not a leader.

I have not worked in the private sector, so maybe my reactions to the word are off. Thoughts?

BTW, I was mapped to basically the same class (Editor --> Editor/Writer). Even though the salary range for the new class is higher, my salary did not change. But all in all, sounds like I am one of the lucky ones.

I see that some people are seeking the descriptions for the new job classifications in the Communications Job Family. I asked Sue Kangas if she could send me a few of them on the professional track, and she sent me all 16. I am happy to forward them to anyone who sends me a note. That would probably be easier than me trying to post them here.

I should have given my e-mail address with my above post: fling003@umn.edu

Hey, all -- I'm a relatively new communicator on campus. Hired in February and didn't complete my reclassification survey until May, have not yet heard the results. Reading this has me worried. I have a question. The FAQ page hosted by OHR reads:

Q: What if my position moves from Civil Service to PA, or vice versa?

A: Depending on the move between employee groups, employees will have the option to remain in their current employee group.

So, how is this applied? If a P&A is reclassified to CS, does she have the option to remain P&A? Seems the answer is intentionally vague in the FAQ.

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