Commission on the Status of Women

CSW Strategic Plan: Compensation and Resources

Salaries of ASU’s classified staff remain below the Phoenix market. Rising costs for healthcare are taking a larger percentage of each employee’s paycheck, effectively reducing gains in market equity. Increases in other associated fees, such as parking, also increase the cost of working at ASU. Women remain concentrated in the lower power grades.

Benefits and services are not conceived holistically. Services, such as child and family resources and the safety escort service, initially designed to meet student needs have been expanded to include employees, but communication, coordination, delivery, and resource allocation remains fragmented. A more holistic approach towards funding and coordination needs to be taken where employees and students have overlapping needs. The awkward position of graduate students as both employees and students needs sustained attention.

Complaints continue about inequities that exist among various employee types on how policies (e.g., flex time and leave) are applied differently and unfairly, how expected performance is subjective and unjust (vastly different workloads for comparable positions), and how compensation for comparable positions is vastly different across vice presidential areas. Beyond the work and pay problems this creates, this has a significant effect on employee morale and motivation.

Employees perceive a lack of adequate, timely, complete and convenient communication of current compensation and related benefits, issues and changes. University contact on employee fiscal issues is minimal and passive. Website blurbs and occasional broadcast emails pointing to the HR website are the norm. ADOA publications and campus forums are the other most common communication mechanisms. Contact is largely by email, thereby excluding employees who do not have access or training to use e-mail, and exclusively in English. For those who can access and read it, the HR website is difficult to navigate, often vague/brief and occasionally out-of-date. For example, it takes four clicks from the HR homepage to reach the tuition waiver information menu page and graduate waivers are still listed as taxable eight months after a ruling change (as of 8/02). In communications, obvious questions are ignored or glossed over in bureaucratic euphemism, minimization and passive voice.

ASU’s HR Department and general administration are not perceived to be strong advocates for employee issues at the state level. If efforts are being made to address staff pay, partner benefits, health benefit costs, and other vital compensation and benefits issues, they are not well known and therefore give the impression that the ASU administration is disinterested or worse yet, ‘on the side of’ state decision-makers rather than employees. The information that does tend to get out and be remembered is the "out of our hands" disclaimers made when state decisions are unfavorable.

Better coordination of employee service delivery is an on-going concern. HR specifically has made efforts in the past year to better consolidate, implement and publicize employee resources (e.g., Work/Life Balance programs, Development Center in Ag Bldg, the Sparkler postcards). Nonetheless, rising costs, cut services and increasing campus population size continue to require ongoing, modern and flexible services to our shifting stakeholders.

Read CSW Progress Update

Issues regarding Compensation and Resources

  • Lack of communication
  • Need for improved benefits
  • Cost of benefits
  • Employee benefits/Student Services
  • Coordination of Resources
  • Resource allocation
  • Funding barriers
  • Comparability of Campuses
  • Discretionary power of supervisors to implement workplace policies

Recommendations for Compensation and Resources


  • The President and Provost must continue to make achieving salary equity for classified staff a priority. Campus compensation and benefits must be brought in line with the Phoenix market.
  • The President and Provost must advocate for domestic partner benefits in order to achieve benefits equity, attract and retain employees, and remain consistent with ASU’s non-discrimination policies and values. All internal policies that can be changed to include domestic partners should be changed.
  • Create a sliding scale for employee portion of health care coverage in order to minimize the effect of health care costs on lower-wage employees.
  • Investigate and correct the GA overwork/under-compensate situation across campus to maintain fairness and eliminate exploitation of assistantships (20 hours paid = 20 hours worked).
  • Continue to monitor and fix compensation inequities across campus units. Employees should be fairly compensated for similar work of similar quality across the campus.
  • Improve classified staff databases to enable more rigorous equity studies.
  • Identify and monitor all sources of compensation, including offers, and publicize problem patterns.
  • Units should monitor the allocation of resources (e.g. research and travel money) to ensure equity. Money should be reallocated to correct any identified inequities.


  • All HR communications should be issued in English and Spanish. Equity in communication is important for the retention of a diverse workforce.
  • HR should consider a regular central broadcast email for employees (monthly), moving to weekly during critical times (e.g., enrollment, system changes, budget crisis).
  • HR should create an optional update distribution list for employees with greater interest in more frequent and/or more detailed updates.
  • HR should post full text of all email messages on its website simultaneously, and maintain an on-line archive of past communications.
  • HR must ensure that hardcopies of all employee emails are posted in less computer-driven areas (e.g., FacMan shops, Custodial Svcs area offices, etc.) This important responsibility should be delegated to a specific individual.
  • HR, the President, the Provost, and the Executive VP for Administrative Services should be more explicit about their reasons and decisions regarding compensation issues. This transparency will alleviate negative speculation and demonstrate good faith efforts of administrators to improve compensation.
  • HR should improve its website to more clearly and quickly provide compensation information:
  • Make benefits a first-level link from the HR homepage.
  • Post quick descriptions of all compensation and benefits offered, their monetary value(s), and links to more in-depth descriptions. (A cheat sheet of benefits.)
  • Post brief summaries of key, popular and/or misunderstood policies, with links to the appropriate SPP or other pages.
  • Post list of links to additional off-campus resources (with appropriate disclaimer of non-endorsement as needed).
  • Prepare 1-page "cheat sheets" on benefits, retirement, insurance and other popular compensation and benefits issues (adapt the webpage materials). Copies should be available in HR offices, and other locations on campus where access to computers is limited.
  • Provide examples of how ASU compares, good or bad, against other state agencies and against peer institutions. Such comparisons of parking rates have been good example of how this can quell some complaints about ASU’s offerings.
  • Employee groups should provide links on their respective websites to HR website. HR should make its logo available to assist efforts to channel employees to HR.


  • President and Provost should be more aggressive in advocating with ABOR, ADOA and legislature on employee concerns (e.g., benefits parity for domestic partners).
  • President, Provost and HR should use suggested communication improvements to better inform employees of efforts on their behalf. Even if these efforts are not successful in every case, the situation will be better understood and appreciated by employees.
  • Decision processes should be more transparent. Who makes decisions affecting employee compensation and benefits? How and when do they make them? Mechanisms should be created to seek input from front-line employees.
  • Health benefits for teaching and research assistants should be improved. Prescription drug coverage should be provided to the health care plan for students.


  • Identify and evaluate current benefit and service offerings. Systemically assess whether current university-wide offerings are effective and needed as offered, what could be done better, and what is missing entirely.
  • Clarify and consolidate employee services and resources, including those that may serve both employees and students, and over a variety of issues: childcare, eldercare, partnership.
  • Reallocate staff, funds and other resources topically, such as a women’s center and/or work/life center to a central, one-stop shop for receiving services, materials or referrals.
  • Research, identify and offer additional resources from on and off campus—grants for support of these efforts, off-campus assistance available directly to users, etc.
  • Institute clear process and responsibility for maintaining these assessments and adjustments to an officer or office with ability to carry them out.