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Merit Pay for Support Staff – FAQs

 
Merit increases are intended to link pay with performance, thereby encouraging higher levels of performance by positively reinforcing them. This is increasingly important to the University's ability to achieve maximum organizational effectiveness and accomplishment of our mission. Merit pay should not be used for equity or market adjustments.
First line supervisors/managers should have input into the merit increase process. Using this input, unit administrators and other second-level reviewers make the final determinations because they are responsible for assessing unit achievement, comparative levels of achievement in different areas, etc.
MAUs may choose to keep a portion of the pool centrally to address certain special needs, such as:
  • Allowing units with one or two employees to obtain extra allocations to reward high performers.
  • Allowing units with overall exceptional performance of employees to obtain additional allocations (i.e., where the spread of ratings would otherwise not allow adequate merit).
Performance appraisal discussions are extremely important to the success of the merit pay program. Without them:
  • Employees may not understand or accept the linkage between their performance achievements and the resulting merit allocation.
  • Units may lack objective and mutually understood performance information on which to base merit allocations.
  • Opportunity for thoughtful discussions regarding employee development, which could have resulted in enhanced performance, may be missed.
If performance appraisals are not current, immediate action should be taken to thoughtfully complete them.
Explain that merit increases are allocated on the basis of performance, not "across-the-board." This means that no one is guaranteed the "average" of the merit pool. Your discussion might also address performance standards so that employees clearly understand what performance results will be considered exceptional.
The employee should first discuss his/her concern with his/her supervisor. Particular focus should be on what the employee can do in the future to improve performance and merit increases. If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved, the employee can initiate a similar discussion with the second-level reviewer. If the issue is still not resolved, the department or the employee may contact Human Resources for guidance.
Raise lists are accessible via the Cognos Planning Tool (raise model) in the Business Intelligence System. They are accessible only during the raise process period which is in September each year. Issues with access to the system should be discussed first with MAU security administrators. Contact Denice Beckwith (beckwi37@ais.msu.edu) or Val Thebeau (thebeau@opb.msu.edu) with questions on security roles.
All employees appear on the lists of their home (primary) unit. If an employee is missing from a list that may be dually reporting please contact Human Resources at 353-4434 to confirm the employee's home unit.
Data for the raise is captured on the annual "pull date" as defined in the raise calendar and changes processed after this date are not reflected. After the raise process closes HR will do extensive review of changes and be in contact with affected departments to ensure full control totals are used and raises are applied appropriately.
The full control total for each MAU must be used for each employee group. These groups are:
  • APA Union
  • APSA Union
  • APA/APSA Non-Union
  • Nurses
At the MAU level, the control total cannot be exceeded or fall short for each group. This is not enforced with a hard stop in the raise model, however, Human Resources will not accept any final submissions until merit raise amounts are met and not exceeded for each group at the MAU level. Individual units can exceed or fall short of their control total as needed. If changes to employee records after the "pull date" affect the control total Human Resources will work with units/MAUs to adjust these manually, as possible, depending on each circumstance.

The APA and APSA will monitor the merit programs with regard to its effect on all members of their Associations and will address questionable adjustments with Employee Relations. The preceding information is provided to assist you in this important process, if you have any questions you should contact Rebecca Yauch, Manager of Compensation and Classification, at 517-884-0115.

 

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