SIZE-NEUTRAL CLASSIFICATION CHANGES

University of California (UC) classification specifications utilize a variety of criteria to determine classification level. References to "size" appear in many of the University-wide specifications, because size has been viewed as an objective and measurable factor. Size is frequently reflected in terms of number of staff directly or indirectly supervised, size of budget, number of meals served per day, number of items shipped or received, inventory dollar value, or size of organization. In essence, larger size resulted in higher classification levels in many instances.

Using size as a determining factor in classification decisions, however, fosters a culture which rewards managers for "empire building" and serves as a disincentive to streamline operations. This was particularly problematic at UCI in that the institution has faced increasing resource demands and diminishing funds in recent years. Consequently, executive management requested that the classification system be reviewed to "ensure that all of its components are functioning smoothly and that the process continues to produce the desired results." They requested that the classification system be "size-neutral, so that it does not contain intrinsic incentives to escalate staffs, budgets, or layers of bureaucracy and inherent disincentives to discourage streamlining, downsizing, and cost-containment."

Human Resources began reviewing UCI's classification system in late 1992, beginning with the job evaluation tools for the Management and Professional (MAP) Program, including the grade level review criteria. The criteria were evaluated by a sub-committee of the MAP Classification Advisory Committee, and staff support was provided by Human Resources. Modifications were made to eliminate size-related measurements, and revised factors were implemented on November 1, 1993 as a pilot program. During the period of November 1, 1993 to October 31, 1995, thirty-three positions were reviewed, a quantity consistent with the number of positions reviewed in a similar length of time (November 1, 1991 to October 31, 1993) prior to the pilot. Of the 24 positions reclassified upward during the pilot, three positions actually reflected a decrease in staff managed while other higher-level duties and responsibilities had been assumed. This was a direct result of using a size-neutral approach.

The second step in the program involved review and modification of classification specifications in the Administrative and Professional Staff (A&PS) Program to eliminate size-related criteria. The scope of this component of the pilot included 94 classification series, representing 295 individual job titles. Eighty-one job titles had size references that were level determinants, 66 titles had size references that were not level determinants, 66 titles had no size references, and 82 titles were excluded due to their health care designations. One-hundred-and-twenty-four classification specifications within the pilot were modified to delete size references. In 23 cases the size reference could not be deleted for reasons such as: 1) elimination of the size reference would destroy the FLSA exemption status; and 2) the classification was represented under an exclusive bargaining agreement. Currently 45 size-neutral job series representing 177 titles are in use and appear on the world wide web as Irvine Campus Supplemental Classification Guidelines (see below for a listing).

For the period March 1, 1994 through February 29, 1996, sixty-three A&PS positions were reviewed under the size-neutral supplemental classification guidelines. Thirty-five of them were non-supervisory positions and application of size-neutral factors did not affect the outcome of their review. The remaining 28 were supervisory positions and 21 of them were reclassified upward as a result of the review, while the others were not. Of the reclassified positions, nine reflected no increase in staff managed (two of those reflected a staff reduction). Of the seven reclassification requests denied, one reflected an increase in staff managed and the others had no change in staffing level. These facts lead us to the conclusion that mangers now have a clearer understanding of the factors that do -- and do not -- contribute to reclassification.

The effort to eliminate size as a factor in position classification supports campuswide streamlining and innovation. While the shift toward a size-neutral philosophy is more qualitative than quantitative, the stage has been set for developing job evaluation methodologies under the Human Resources Management Initiatives (HRMI) that will carry forward a size-neutral approach.