Implementing job families at University of Nottingham

In many senses, Nottingham is ahead of the higher education sector, both with respect to developing a response to the emerging national pay arrangements and in deciding to introduce job families and a performance-based reward system. Many institutions were following the well-trodden route of full-blown analytical job evaluation for all staff, and were cautious about exercising the potential offered by the new national arrangements to reward contribution.

Nottingham was therefore faced with the prospect of standing out from the crowd by committing to a radical transformation to a performance-oriented culture, in a sector where there was little or no history of radical change and where there was a high degree of scepticism about the value of relating reward to performance amongst the unions and, in many cases, staff and management.

This case study describes the development path that the University of Nottingham followed, the challenges that they faced along the way and the learnings that the reward team has drawn from its work. In particular, our report examines:

  • objectives of the new integrated pay, grading and reward structure

  • incremental approach to implementation

  • job family structure and its objectives

  • job evaluation and the job matching process

  • using job evaluation to underpin the job families

  • designing the remuneration structure

  • implementing the new salary structure

  • measuring contribution through an assessment of achievement against goals

  • rewarding contribution

  • checks and balances - appeals and monitoring processes

  • communication and involvement

  • lessons learnt.

Some commentators and organisations call the Nottingham structure a career family approach to distinguish it from a job family approach where typically there is flexibility to apply different pay arrangements in each family.