University of Wisconsin–Madison

2022 Accomplishments of the HR Community

This community supports every facet of HR for more than 24,200 faculty and staff, including about 2,300 faculty, approximately 13,000 staff across multiple shifts, more than 5,400 graduate assistants and post-degree training staff, and nearly 9,000 student employees.

HR professionals manage regular processes such as recruiting, onboarding, administering benefits (including Open Enrollment), processing payroll, administering pay plan and pay adjustments, upholding policies and procedures, educating supervisors and employees, advising leadership on HR matters, and much more. While it would not be possible to capture everything the HR community accomplished during 2022, below are key highlights showcasing how this community has gone above and beyond regular processes:

Supported Recruiting Top Talent, Employee Growth

Referral Bonus Program – Employee referrals are the second most effective recruitment strategy for filling campus roles after the Jobs at UW website. While in the initial stages, HR Reps have started to use the program to attract new talent in a tight labor market.

Job Rotation Program – HR Reps supported this innovative program allowing early career professionals and those in a career transition to explore careers in HR or finance during a 2-year program. Cohort 3 of the Job Rotation Program started in July 2022. This cohort is three times larger than previous cohorts with 12 employees – 7 in HR and 5 in Finance. HR professionals work alongside Job Rotators as they complete group projects that have campus-wide impact such as a process for exit and stay interviews across campus. Those in Finance are working with the Administrative Transformation Program (ATP). Since the program started in January 2020, there have been 37 participating units across campus which includes 12 units who recently joined the program.

Title and Total Compensation (TTC) Creates a Foundation

As with any major implementation, it takes time to adopt to new structures. HR Reps played a vital role in helping to stabilize the new structure.

HR Trainings

  • The TTC Project offered online trainings for HR professionals to learn compensation best practices. HR Reps participated in a TTC Refresher training series at the start of 2022 to implement the new Salary Administration Guidelines (SAG) among schools, colleges, and divisions.
  • HR Reps continued to extend their TTC knowledge into additional areas of HR which were impacted as result of TTC. This includes recruitment (new job postings, supervision requirements, open recruitment processes), pay adjustments, and internal website updates at the local unit level for example.

In October 2022, HR Reps collaborated with Office of Human Resource (OHR) during a compensation lab pilot. In this session local HR professionals shared feedback, collaborated, and solved complex compensation challenges. As a result, campus will explore an HR CoP for Compensation.

TTC Job Title Appeals

  • The TTC Project Team created and communicated to campus a Job Title Appeals Process which would not have been possible without the support from local HR.
  • Less than one percent of employees submitted a job title appeal. This percent is much lower than the industry standard according to compensation consultant, Mercer. OHR attributes this success to the informal resolutions process and employee engagements (such as employee conversations) which local HR Reps led among their areas.
  • HR Reps also participated in an informal resolution process with supervisors, employees, and OHR.
  • Local HR Reps supported extending the job title appeals process to accommodate employee requests. They also helped distribute communication materials which were also translated into multiple languages to meet employee needs.
  • HR Reps communicated multiple appeals timelines so employees could appeal to new job titles added to the Title and Standard Job Description (SJD) Library after implementation (that were also backdated to the November 7, 2021 implementation date). HR professionals volunteered and participated in helping to resolve job title appeals along with OHR and shared governance members as part of the Job Title Appeals Panel. HR Reps also implemented the new policy to support the process.

New Standard Job Descriptions (SJD), Edits, and Salary Structure Requests

  • HR Reps worked with the TTC Project Team to review new or edited SJDs and process salary structure requests submitted after November 7, 2021.
  • The project also collaborated with UW System and UW Shared Services to develop this end-to-end process to stabilize the Title and SJD Library. Key updates include changes to the IT Job Group which went into effect in spring 2022.
  • To date the project received 298 such requests from UW–Madison and UW System. The total closed requests are 245.

Fair Labor Standards Agreement (FLSA) Backpay

  • In the first quarter, OHR worked with local HR on a process to address FLSA backpay as a result of TTC title changes for select employees. HR Reps worked with employees and supervisors to communicate changes and processes for supervisors and employees. Local HR worked to ensure employees and supervisors understood this complex process. UW System also worked with the university to develop a similar process based on the UW–Madison model.

Raise to Min/Salary Max

  • OHR made a strategic decision when the project implemented to increase base pay to the salary grade minimum. This was the first step in ensuring the salary structure is market informed. Local HR worked to ensure pay accuracy throughout this process. HR Leads provided feedback to OHR leadership regarding extending the salary grade maximums.
  • HR Leads and shared governance members provided feedback regarding base pay adjustments for employees paid over the maximum of their salary range.

Employees Advance in Salary Ranges – Central Funds for Compensation

  • HR professionals’ contributions allowed the university to implement a market informed title and salary structure through the Title and Total Compensation (TTC) Project. As a result of better data from TTC, leadership was able to make more informed decisions for the FY 2022-2023 compensation strategy.
  • The university allocated more than $21 million for base pay adjustments – the largest allocation in nearly a decade – for faculty, academic staff, university staff and limited appointee pay adjustments. The total central funds for compensation adjustments totaled more than $28 million.
  • Of these funds, university leadership also allocated an additional $4 million for base pay adjustments for high performers and to address market factors.
  • HR Reps supported the university’s strategy to prioritize the lowest paid employees on campus. To specifically address compensation issues uncovered by TTC, HR Reps helped provide $11.9 million in funds to support the lowest paid employees. This included actions such as increasing the minimum wage to $17 per hour during the 2022-23 FY, addressing compression, retention, and market adjustments.
  • Without local HR, the execution of this strategy and its impact would not be possible. Local HR played a critical role to ensure salary alignment at the local school, college, and division level. They communicated directly with employees regarding all pay adjustments. Local HR also conducted new analysis as they had access to consistent data as a result of TTC. This allowed them to make determinations for pay adjustments and placement within the salary grade.
  • From December 2021 to November 28, 2022, Academic Staff, University Staff, and Limited Appointees progressed within their salary ranges (see appendix).

Night Differential Pay

  • Improved data and market research also allowed areas such as Housing, Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) and the WI Union to increase their night differential pay to a total of $2.50 per hour. These units collaborated with OHR to communicate these changes in six different languages for employees working from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • CALS Agriculture Research Facilities increased the night differential to $1 per hour. The weekend differential also increased to a total of $2 per hour.
  • The School of Veterinary Medicine added additional night differential for Veterinary Technicians of $2.20 per hour.
  • The planning process for Athletics Facilities night differential pay is underway and will go into effect in January 2023.

Compliance, Policies, Audit

  • HR Reps provided audit support and responses to audits covering a variety of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and criminal background checks (CBC).
  • HR professionals provided subject matter and policy drafting expertise, research support, and guidance in the creation of new policies, revising old policies, and retiring some policies in the Policy Library.
    • New policies include:
      • Postdoc Absence with Pay and Legal Holiday Policy
      • Combating Trafficking in Persons
    • We’re updating approximately 18 campus-wide HR policies.


Chart 1: Employee Categories by Quartiles (December 2021)

  • Chart shows employees paid below the minimum salary range had not yet gone into effect.
  • Reflects the salary structure prior to any pay adjustments post TTC.

Chart 2: Employee Categories by Quartiles (November 28,2022)

  • Reflects employee pay after the first round of central fund adjustments post TTC, $17 per hour minimum wage and additional pay adjustments.

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