Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
October 22, 1999

Espinoza: P&S classification system isn't about salaries

by Anne Krapfl
Classification changes don't necessarily translate into salary increases and shouldn't be perceived as the route to bigger salaries, Carla Espinoza told a lunch crowd of Professional and Scientific employees Oct. 11. Espinoza, who directs Iowa State's human resource services office, reviewed facts and misperceptions of the P&S classification system in the first of a three-part education series.

Espinoza said positive performance reviews and corresponding salary adjustments are the way to reward employees for outstanding work. Reclassification is not a promotion. Rather, it reflects the evolution of a specific job, she said.

One of the misperceptions about Iowa State's P&S classification system, she said, is that it classifies individuals.

"A classification system catalogs jobs, not people," Espinoza said. "People think their classification impacts their pay. That's only true when you are hired, which is why job descriptions are so important to the system."

Job series is the answer
Espinoza said her staff is in the process of creating job series or families (for example, an accountant series or a communications series), which is a systematic way to help people advance professionally. When a job is not part of a series, people in that job should expect to move to another job in a higher classification in order to advance.

Weighted factors
When HRS staff members (or the P&S classification review committee) review a request for a new classification, they assess seven factors that are part of a position description (PIQ). Espinoza noted that each factor carries a specific weight in the overall assessment:

1. Innovation
2. Knowledge and experience
3. Complexity
4. Internal interactions
5. Impact on institutional mission
6. External interactions
7. Leadership responsibility

This assessment results in a point total, used to assign a job to a specific P-level (11-20) at Iowa State. Other, external factors also reflect the P level assigned to a job, Espinoza said. These include market demand, comparisons with other land-grant schools and the likelihood that candidates for a specific job would be willing to work (or live) in Ames, a rural community by most standards, she said.

The education series continues Oct. 25 and Nov. 8, with a look at the P&S compensation and benefits systems, respectively.

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