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Support staff job descriptions to be updated

The Human Resources Compensation work team is in the process of reviewing the support staff classification structure, which includes a review of job descriptions and titles. Classification will begin during the summer and will take effect in January 2003.

Human Resources, after reviewing the support staff classification structure, found it was no longer effective. It found, for example, that many job descriptions were outdated and did not reflect current position responsibilities. Furthermore, job titles were inconsistently used and often did not reflect the content of the jobs.

In collaboration with a 14-member advisory group representing academic and administrative areas across MIT and Lincoln Laboratory, the compensation team has now completed basic design work to remedy the problems. Among other accomplishments, it has standardized many job descriptions and job titles, contacted area employers to determine their pay scales and developed a process for classifying jobs.

"The result is an updated support staff classification structure that reflects how modern technology and business culture have changed the job responsibilities of support staff over the last 10 years," said Evelyn Perez, the human resources project administrator in the Office of the Provost who is a member of the advisory group. "It was impressive to see such a large and diverse group work so closely together to achieve specific goals."

The overall goals of the project include updating and standardizing support staff job descriptions and titles; updating salary ranges; determining how MIT pays in relation to other area employers; and reviewing pay equity. The work team has periodically "tested" ideas and documents with others across the Institute, frequently incorporating their suggestions and recommendations. These additional groups include members of the Administrative Advisory Council II, a group of administrative officers and several members of the Working Group on Support Staff Issues.

Therese Henderson, a member of the Working Group on Support Staff Issues who has worked closely with Human Resources, said, "I'm very impressed with the conscientious thought process that has gone into this project. The collaboration between Human Resources and various groups of employees ensures that many voices have a chance to be heard. It helps create an equitable final product and also helps to clarify the career development path for support staff."

Laura Avakian, vice president for human resources, said, "We are committed to making meaningful changes that provide clarity, consistency and overall improvements in the way we approach support staff pay and job classification. It's important to remember that no one's salary will be reduced, nor will any employee lose his or her job. And, while several job titles are likely to change, it will be to ensure that they better reflect the content of a job."

The process of classifying jobs will begin in July and August and will involve both employees and managers. Changes will not become effective until January 2003.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 5, 2002.

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