When Vice President for Finance Brian Foisy heard staff members were concerned about employees not being allowed higher pay if they moved between departments, he said the solution was as simple as ending that practice.
“We just treat everybody the same,” Foisy said.
He said he discussed the issue with various groups on campus, including Staff Council, Faculty Senate and Provost Council, and said he saw almost unanimous agreement on the subject before he proposed it to University of Idaho President Chuck Staben.
“I think it”s great,” said Faculty Senate Chair Randall Teal.
Just because university employees are eligible for an increased salary in a lateral move doesn”t mean they are entitled to the pay raise, Foisy said. He said there are many reasons why an employee may not be able to get an increased salary if they switch departments, like if the department the employee transferred to doesn”t have enough money in their budget to offer them higher pay than what they received at their old job.
The old argument against this change doesn”t hold a lot of weight for Foisy. He said people claimed employees who move between departments don”t deserve a raise because they would still do the same job. Foisy said no matter how similar some job descriptions are, no job is exactly the same and the employee in question would see the move as a promotion.
Foisy said though the increased employee mobility this change allows poses a challenge for the university, he said mobility still brings the benefit of proving to faculty and staff that UI respects their diverse range of skills.
Foisy predicts putting this change in practice will not have a big fiscal impact on the university. Instead, the switch is meant to show faculty and staff they are valued at UI and reverse turnover rates. Foisy said UI has a rate of staff turnover at about 17-18 percent, which is about twice what it should be.
“You get into a job and you”re stuck in that job,” Foisy said. “And what we”re trying to say is, no “¦ Employees value mobility, staff employees, and we value our staff employees and we need to value mobility.”
This change falls in line with one of Staben”s primary goals of building the university team, Foisy said. Although keeping faculty and staff at the university would not directly increase the number of employees at UI, he said retaining people is just as crucial to improving the amount of employees, just like student retention is important in increasing enrollment.
“Turnover is detrimental to building the team, right, because you”re always starting again,” Foisy said. “And so the idea is as you get good people on board, and you keep those people. The longer they work here “¦ they become more marketable and more valuable themselves.”
Erin Bamer can be reached at email@example.com