Recruitment and Retention Premia Procedure

The accompanying procedure for determining and awarding market-related payments includes a checklist to be used by Heads of Department in conjunction with the relevant HR Manager to ensure that all appropriate evidence is considered and to determine if a payment is justified and can be objectively evidenced.

The form in Appendix 1 should be completed when applying for a new market supplement or lump sum payment and the form in Appendix 2 for reviews of existing payments in order to provide an audit trail and to demonstrate business need.

Stage 1

1. Investigation of recruitment and / or retention problems

1.1 Where serious problems are experienced in recruiting for a particular post or type of post, or where there is external evidence that such problems will be encountered the Head of Department with the relevant HR Manager should consider the following:

  • What was the level of interest in response to the advert?
  • Can information packs be made more appealing, e.g. by promoting the benefits (often non-pay) of working for the university more effectively?
  • Can application forms be made more “user-friendly” and easy to complete?
  • Are there any undue delays or specific problems with the selection procedure such that applicants may accept other job offers during the process?
  • Is the selection process relevant and effective?
  • Is the design of the job and the person specification appropriate, e.g. are the skill sets being requested realistic?
  • Was the advert placed in appropriate media?
  • Was the advert appealing and did it highlight the best aspects of the role and the university to attract applicants?
  • Would the use of search consultants be appropriate?
  • Are applicants fully aware of non-pay benefits (e.g. pension schemes, training and career development opportunities, facilities, access to a range of policies that support work-life balance, the opportunities to engage in leading edge research etc)?

1.2 Where there is a retention problem i.e. turnover in a particular type of post or discipline is significantly higher than the norm or skilled employees are applying for or are approached in relation to similar posts with other employers at a higher rate of pay, the following issues should first be considered:

  • Is there evidence of the reasons why staff are leaving, from e.g. exit interviews, staff surveys, other feedback channels?
  • Does the evidence indicate pay as the main factor or can retention problems be addressed by other means, e.g. improved training/career development opportunities, improved conditions/benefits, improved job design, better staff management?
  • If pay is demonstrated to be the main factor, can it be increased within existing reward mechanisms, e.g. consideration as to whether the job is correctly graded, an increase to the top of the range, additional responsibility allowance?

2. Analysis of market data

2.1 Where evidence from appropriate sources shows that the main reason for staff leaving is for more pay (other than as part of the normal career/personal development process), or where strong evidence exists to suggest that such problems are likely to arise, objective evidence of the pay rates being offered by competing employers for similar posts, together with the main features of the labour market, will be obtained by the appropriate HR Manager.

2.2 Evidence should be sought from reliable sources and include information from relevant UCEA pay surveys and the ECC Labour Market Data Service.

2.3 If the resulting evidence indicates that the market rate is equal to or lower than the value of the total reward package offered by the University or below the threshold set in paragraph 5.4, HR will work with the Head of Department to identify other underlying recruitment or retention problems and the most appropriate way of overcoming these.

2.4 If the resulting evidence shows that pay rates elsewhere are significantly higher than the reward package offered by the University and the pay differential meets the criteria set out in paragraph 5.4 of the policy the Head of Department and HR will first consider whether any improvements can be obtained by offering or making applicants more aware of compensatory non-pay benefits before completing the form in Appendix 1 requesting that a recruitment and retention premium be paid.             

Stage 2

3. Formal consideration of the case

3.1 Where the investigation and analysis undertaken in Stage 1 indicate that there may be a case for the payment of a recruitment and retention premium the completed form in Appendix 1 should be submitted to Planning Group or SMT for consideration (whichever is due to meet first).

3.2 Planning group/SMT will consider whether a payment is warranted by the evidence and record the reasons for its decision on Appendix 1.

3.3 Depending on the circumstances this will take the form of either:

  • A lump sum payment, which may be staged or
  • An on-going payment in addition to salary for a specified period of time and subject to annual review.

The type and size of the payment will be determined from evidence of the features of the particular labour market and the pay differential calculated as described in paragraph 5.4 of the policy.

3.4 The terms on which the payment is awarded will be clearly explained to the member of staff and will also form part of the contract of employment. A review date will be identified for the payment; this will usually be the anniversary of the application of the premium.

Stage 3

4. Reviews

4.1 Prior to the review date the Head of Department in conjunction with the relevant HR Manager should complete the Review Form in Appendix 2.  The form requires evidence and analysis against the criteria outlined . The labour market data used in the review should be directly comparable to the initial analysis and use the same sources where possible.

4.2 Planning group/SMT will review the evidence presented and consideration will be made as to whether or not a payment is still warranted, and if so that the amount is still justified in the light of any changes in labour market conditions and/or pay increases awarded by the University. The review will also consider the likely impact on vacancies and turnover of removing or reducing a premium.

4.3 Where the available evidence on pay rates elsewhere and labour market conditions shows that recruitment and retention premia are no longer necessary or appropriate for the role either at the current level or at all, they will be reduced or withdrawn in line with paragraph 6.3 of the policy. The individual(s) concerned will be given full reasons for the withdrawal/reduction, in writing.

4.4 Where the available evidence on pay rates elsewhere and labour market conditions shows that an increase in the recruitment and retention premium is required that increase will take effect on the 1st of the month following the review date or expiry of the current arrangements.