HR compensation director discusses new job framework redesign

A new job framework for about 11,000 appointed staff positions at Indiana University will launch Feb. 21. It will retire the university's current classification structures and create a new job framework that is both consistent and transparent.

Betsy LarsonView print quality image
Betsy Larson. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

As part of the rollout, staff will receive information from their supervisor or IU Human Resources representative about where their role "fits" into the new framework in the coming weeks.

Inside IU caught up with IU compensation director Betsy Larson to learn more about the launch and what it means for staff employees:

Question: Why did IU undertake this project?

Answer: Feedback about our existing classification system from those using it confirmed that our system was old, broken and confusing, and needed updating. It wasn't useful for career planning. It made it difficult for staff to know what jobs existed until they were posted as vacancies, which made it very challenging to plan for and grow into new roles.

It was time for a new approach. IU needed a transparent and consistent way to view all the roles at IU and show how they were all related to each other. We needed to give staff the capability to self-guide their own careers.

Q: What does this redesign mean for me?

A: For appointed staff -- this redesign does not include academic roles -- the new framework gives you a platform to self-guide your career at IU, whatever that means for you.

Seeing all the appointed staff roles at IU clearly organized alongside the skills and competencies they require lets you plan your growth in skills and competencies and be ready for your next role at IU when it is available.

For the university, a consistent and transparent view of jobs and career opportunities can lead to better retention, motivation and even engagement for existing staff employees. As a whole, we'll be better suited to apply our expertise together in support of the university's mission. From an outside point of view, IU should be able to attract new employees due to an easily understood job framework that shows the many career opportunities available here.

Q: How will staff use this framework?

A: The framework is simply a transparent way to organize jobs, but it has to be in place before you can plan an IU career and pursue it. The IU Career Navigator -- the online tool used to navigate the new framework available Feb. 21 -- helps you explore the framework to see what's possible at IU or what's next for you. You can compare roles and their corresponding role descriptors to see the skills you'll need to develop to be ready when there's an opportunity to apply for the role you want.

Whether you want to grow into a leadership role, make a lateral move to expand your experience or even reinvent your career, you'll be able to see what's possible and plan how to get there.

Once you have your career goals -- whatever they may be -- you can use career planning and development tools to self-guide your growth and be ready to act on your career plan.

Q: What's my role in the launch?

A: Staff should familiarize themselves with the elements of the new framework -- information is available at the project website both in quick bites and deeper dives. When it comes to discussing where your role fits in the framework with your leader, be inquisitive about the framework. Ask questions and explore what is possible for your career. Use the framework to explore opportunities at IU. You're the designer of your own career, and this framework gives you the platform you need to find opportunities at IU that match your goals.

For leaders of staff employees, their role is to educate themselves on the framework and how it changes career planning and growth at IU. Leaders play a key role in setting the tone and encouraging staff to grow and develop, which makes IU even stronger. Leaders can reach out to their HR representatives for assistance and related resources.

From a broader perspective, we want to foster a culture where leaders are supportive of employee growth and development, whether it's in a current job or another job. We want leaders to be the first people staff reach out to for help and guidance with that growth.

Q: What do I do if I have questions or don't agree with my new role descriptor, title or other details?

A: It's important to understand why your role is where it is in the new framework. Your HR representative and leaders who understand your role helped place it in the new framework. A brief conversation with them can help you best understand how your role fits in the new framework.

Remember, the framework is not based on the individuals who occupy roles, but the basic duties required of the roles themselves. You weren't placed into the framework, your role at IU was -- and so was everybody else's. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your leader or your local HR representative. The IU HR Compensation team is here to support leaders and your HR representatives.

Q: Why make this change now?

A: We're moving forward with the launch of the new job framework. It's been four years in the making, and we certainly didn't foresee a pandemic in our future. At some point, COVID-19 will be behind us and the hiring freeze will be lifted. We want staff to have what they need to prepare for what's on the other side of our current situation.

You always want to be planning for the future and what's next for you, no matter what. At the end of the day, that's what this project is all about: Giving staff the tools and ability to plan a career at IU, focus on their development, and prepare for the future, whatever that may be.