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HReimagined Progress Continues with $40M Compensation Investment, Benefits Improvements

As part of the HReimagined initiative, the Human Resources Office is making strides in retaining and supporting high-quality employees through strategic efforts. Included is some $40 million for faculty and staff pay raises allocated earlier this year with support from President Stuart R. Bell.

As part of that compensation investment, in April UA approved a minimum wage increase to $14 per hour for regular benefits eligible, non-exempt (hourly) employees. A second pay increase to $15 per hour will follow the first pay period in January 2023. HR is also developing plans for potential wage adjustments for certain non-exempt positions similar to those increasing to $15 per hour early next year.

“These compensation investments reflect the University’s commitment to competitive wages for all who contribute to UA’s success, and it’s an important part of our strategic plan,” said Bell. “Our people are the University’s most important resource. Our mission and our success depend on them, and this is the right investment to make.”

Other HReimagined improvements this year include:

  • Competitive Hire Rates: Human Resources has been working with departments to allow new hire offers at more competitive pay rates to address recruiting challenges.
  • Paid Parental Leave Benefit: The HReimagined project and the Strategic Plan both emphasize work-life balance with a family leave initiative. In January, UA added four weeks of paid parental leave as a new employee benefit for the birth, adoption or placement for foster care of a child, to support bonding. Parental leave is in addition to other available leave, and both parents are eligible.
  • Improved Orientation and Onboarding: New employees are also seeing improvements to UA’s orientation and onboarding process. New employees now have access to systems on their first day, among other improvements. Respondents have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on the new hire experience.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements Policy: After a successful pilot, the University has finalized a Flexible Work Arrangements policy, which takes effect Dec. 1. The policy provides guidance for vice presidents and college and division leaders to evaluate positions and employees for flexible work scheduling and location opportunities.
  • New HR Business Partners: The reimagined model for delivering HR services includes adding HR business partners to serve as direct HR advisors for major campus units. Five business partners have been hired so far to support Arts & Sciences, the Culverhouse College of Business, Community Health Sciences, Student Life, Nursing, Graduate School, Advancement, Strategic Communications, Community Affairs, and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Additional positions will be added in coming years.
  • Compensation Review: In alignment with the 2022 Strategic Plan, the University will continue its ongoing review of salaries and compensation models.
  • Technology Improvements: Recent HR technology improvements include enhancements to the system for managing new hires. The AbsenceTracker online leave management system for employees on Family Medical Leave or military leave was initiated in May.
  • New Performance Review Program: A new performance review program to better link evaluations to job responsibilities is also being implemented, thanks to a campuswide working group.
  • New Management Training: Human Resources has also updated the “UA Essentials for Management” training for new supervisors and is piloting a new Leadership series developed with input from a cross-functional team.

Pursuant to the Strategic Plan and through HReimagined, the UA Human Resources Office is continually reviewing and implementing policies and practices to enhance the employee experience at the Capstone. A summary of more planned improvements is available on the HReimagined website.