University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Questions and Answers about the Civil Service Classification Study

What is the civil service classification and compensation study?

The purpose of the civil service classification and compensation study is to recommend improvements to classification and compensation systems, tools, and processes for U of M civil service employees. The specific roles of the work group are to:

  • Review existing classification and compensation policies and practices
  • Review external and internal best practices
  • Recommend changes to systems, policies, and practices

This initiative falls under one of the top four improvement areas identified by the People Strategies Task Force to “enhance classification and compensation systems across all job families.” This work will play a role in helping the University become one of the top three public research universities by supporting the president's vision that the University be known as much for its service and business innovation as it is for its high quality research, education, and outreach.

Is civil service the only employee group to undergo a compensation and classification study?
No. The University has conducted several studies of employee group structures over the past few years. The clerical employee group was reviewed about three years ago, shortly before the U's strategic positioning report was issued. A P&A working group recently conducted a study similar to the current civil service study. Subcommittees of the original P&A work group are now studying its key recommendations and next steps.
Will classification decisions be based on a position or a person?

In general, classifications follow a position and are determined by:

  • Major accountabilities
  • Qualification requirements
  • Fair Labor Standards Act exempt/nonexempt status
Will the outcomes of the study impact my benefits package and/or compensation?
There are no plans to increase or decrease compensation as a result of this study. The goal of the working group is to recommend systems and processes that will provide greater consistency and fairness across the University. We hope that with a better structure in place, a variety of human resource processes will become more equitable and transparent to the University community. The focus of the working group is not on the benefits and compensation for individual civil service employees, but on the overall structure and processes related to work classification.
Will there be follow-up studies that might impact my compensation and classification? Will civil service employees participate in follow-up studies that impact individual job classifications? What is the normal process for these types of studies?
The goal of the civil service working group is to collect information about the current compensation and classification structure and to use that information to develop recommendations. We don't know yet if those recommendations, which are made to U of M administration, will lead to further study. If further study is needed, we'll work to be as inclusive as possible by soliciting feedback and participation from stakeholders across the University.
Will there be clear ways to move from civil service to P&A if the position calls for it?
Yes. As has always been the practice, there will continue to be a way for positions to be reclassified into the correct employee group based on the work being performed.
Who will decide if there will be “grandparenting” of employees in current positions after a reclassification process is set?
The working group has been charged with developing a set of recommendations to the vice president of the Office of Human Resources. She will bring the final recommendations for consideration and ultimate decision-making by the University administration. The only area in which grandparenting will not be considered would be in those cases where it is prohibited by legal regulations (like the Fair Labor Standards Act).
Who will write the job descriptions for reclassified positions?
It is the responsibility of individual managers to prepare and update the individual job descriptions for their employees with assistance, and oversight, from management within their units and, in some cases, the Office of Human Resources. Revisions to general class specifications will be managed by the Office of Human Resources.
Who will determine how the recommendations are implemented?
Until the recommendations are created, we can't develop a process for their implementation. We'll update the University community on implementation plans after final decisions are made based on the recommendations.
How does this work impact ongoing classification and compensation work, as well as the financial job family study?
While the civil service study is important, it is equally important that ongoing business needs are met. The working group's recommendations are not related to ongoing reclassifications or the position redesign that might occur in the financial job family study. The working group's activities relate to University-wide structure, systems, and processes.
Will I be able to provide input into this process?
Yes. The working group is seeking focus-group input from the Twin Cities and coordinate campuses this fall. In addition, you may e-mail your comments about the study to
If I am selected to participate in a focus group can I do it on work time or do I have to take vacation?
If you are invited to participate in a focus group for the civil service study, you will be able to participate on work time. Once you've been invited to a focus group, we'll ask your supervisor to support your participation and attendance at the focus group during your regular work hours.
If I participate in a focus group will my answers be anonymous?
Yes. We will not attribute responses to individuals, and focus group participants will not be identified with the sessions they attended.
When will the working group have final recommendations?
We plan to make the results of the working group's research available in the spring on the Office of Human Resources Web site. We'll update the University community about our timeline as we continue our work.