New Name Coming for Total Rewards Study

The Total Rewards study — an Office of Human Resources initiative to evaluate the University’s compensation, benefits, rewards and recognition, career development and work-life integration — is going through a name change, said Cheryl Johnson, vice chancellor of human resources.

According to Johnson, the name has communicated the wrong message to University employees.

“When we initially started, the assessment was misinterpreted by some that there would be a windfall or a pay increase for everyone. There also were some who thought it was an opportunity to take away pay or other benefits. Both perceptions are incorrect. The assessment is intended to understand where our jobs are priced against a market reference point.

“Most importantly, we want to encourage our colleagues to consider the total package that Pitt offers including the opportunity to contribute to a mission driven organization, health care benefits, a very competitive defined contribution plan, tuition remuneration, paid time off and many other perquisites,” said Johnson.

Johnson shared an update on the Total Rewards study with members of the Senate budget policies committee at the committee’s April 20 meeting. Maureen Kendall, director of compensation, was also in attendance.

During her presentation to the committee, Johnson highlighted the Staff Engagement and Climate Survey, which indicated that staff members felt unclear about career paths at the University.

“We know that we need more intentional processes for people to know how to grow their career,” said Johnson. “It doesn’t always mean vertically; it could be horizontally as well.”

Pitt’s latest tally of staff employees is about 7,000. The latest tally of unique job descriptions? About 6,700.

According to Kendall, one-third of Pitt’s staff members belong to one classification — administration. Many of those staff members have been miscategorized, she said.

“As we build out the job families, we’re also going to build out functional areas and then subfunctional areas so that we can actually get down to that to be more flexible, to really get to where we need to be and identify what those roles are,” said Kendall.

As part of the original study, the human resources office sent job analysis questionnaires to about 6,800 staff members. Responses from slightly more than 95 percent of that total will inform the categories that a third party will analyze with respect to the job market.

Johnson outlined the proposed timeline for the study going forward:

  • June 2018: develop employee value proposition
  • May 2018-August 2019: reimagine compensation structure and career pathing
  • January 2019-August 2019: develop implementation strategies
  • Fiscal year 2021: design robust performance management system


Katie Fike,, 412-624-1085