The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2006 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

COMPENSATION MATRIX REFLECTING LONGEVITY, COMPETENCY CRITERIA AND JOB CLASIFICATION: STEPS TO IMPLEMENTATION, APPROVAL AND STAFF RESPONSE

Suzan Herzig RRT, RCP , Richard Ford RRT, FAARC, Carolyn Mihailuk RRT, RCP, Timothy Morris MD UCSD Medical Center San Diego, California

Objective: The national shortage of Respiratory Care Practitioners, the high cost of living in San Diego, and a job market that is highly competitive, requires that departments look at new and creative strategies for recruitment and retention. At UCSD Medical Center a solution for improvement was essential to ensure acceptable staffing levels and improve staff morale. Our goal was to implement a compensation program in which the salary was based on both years of service and achievement of competencies within the RCP job classification.

Method:
The justification and creation of the new longevity/competency grid was established through the following assessments: regional wage surveys, the number of employees leaving or reducing hours and why, if they had left to work at another facility and if pay was a factor, and the number of RCPs that had interviewed and been offered a position yet declined due to insufficient pay. Vacancies and time left vacant were documented as well as the cost for contract labor if vacancies were not filled. Competencies were determined by brainstorming sessions in which highly valued behaviors and skills were identified and prioritized for consideration in the pay grid. 

Results:
Survey data indicated a lag in salaries of 10-12% behind our local competitors with even greater variance considering years of service. Valued competencies were identified as: being an RRT, volunteering to flex staff, serving as a preceptor or shift team leader, and participation in department performance improvement. A new competitive salary grid was developed with progressive increases in pay for both years of service and competency achievement.

Conclusions:
With comprehensive evidence of the need for compensation and a well-researched method for competency adjustment, Human Resources and the representing union approved our matrix. We knew staff would welcome any increase in pay however we were further encouraged by the support of the competency-based section of the matrix and in these preliminary months staff has improved participation and contribution to performance improvement projects.

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