strategic plan goal 5 recruit, retain, reward and recognize our people

Cultivate a respectful, supportive culture for our exceptional faculty and staff that recognizes and rewards excellence and success and that provides ample opportunities for personal growth, professional development, promotion and leadership.

Our greatest asset at the University of Memphis is our people. We are proud of our highly committed, hard-working, passionate and engaged faculty and staff. We have achieved a lot together, including diversity that sets us apart from our peers. Faculty and staff are clearly critical to fulfilling our mission and we can reach our vision only if we get the people part of our strategy right. Over the past few years, we have asked a lot of our people. We made a strong and successful push for the R1 research designation while we were simultaneously being buffeted by the pandemic, which required fast and big changes across campus. Now, we must show acknowledgment and appreciation to our people for the sacrifices made. To this end, we are baselining, evaluating and revising all elements of our people model from recruiting to retention. There is much to be done. We understand the deep and intertwined nexus that exists among rewards, recognition, retention, workload, support and employment satisfaction. We are committed to ensuring strong progress in all seven dimensions (discussed below) of our people goal. Our objective is staff and faculty unity and pride that aligns with and propels the success of our students and our institution.


Recruiting & Onboarding.

Our goal is to attract and orient able, motivated and diverse faculty and staff through increased focus that results in needed capabilities in target disciplines and functions. For both staff and faculty, this means streamlining recruitment and hiring. This includes revising our onboarding process to make it more substantive, relevant, informative and welcoming. We also understand that our compensation and benefits packages must be more competitive. And we must be vigilant in creating fair hiring practices. To increase our pool of diverse candidates, we will be more purposeful in expanding the platforms where we announce our positions and in identifying and addressing impediments to hiring of candidates from historically underrepresented groups.



Our objective is to create a safe, collaborative and welcoming culture that is upheld by efficient processes, clear roles and responsibilities, excellent communications and modernized HR policies that maximize staff effectiveness and satisfaction. Creating this culture is a collective venture where faculty, staff and administration work closely together. It begins with ensuring campus safety (discussed under Goal 2 – Create Opportunities to Succeed and the Safety and Security Principle). However, it also entails a spirit of collegiality and collaboration that infuses our everyday interactions and instills institutional pride, with a strong emphasis on incentives that align with the cooperation we seek.


Professional Development.

Our objective is to actively facilitate and reward professional growth through more and better professional development. Understanding that professional development is important to enhancing people performance, teaching effectiveness, career advancement, leadership preparation and accomplishment of our broader strategic goals; we are investing more in professional development. We are engaging faculty and staff to gather input on what training is most needed. We will closely link professional development activities with objective criteria for evaluating its efficacy and will strive to provide equal professional development opportunities for all faculty and staff.


Advancement & Leadership.

Our objective is to create welldefined paths for advancement and leadership. A top priority is the success of our staff and faculty supported by an advancement and leadership approach built around success coaching for both new and experienced faculty and staff. For staff, we are increasing crosstraining to facilitate advancement. This involves addressing salary inconsistencies across campus and achieving a good balance between shared services and unitspecific resources. For faculty, our advancement approach focuses on our Promotion and Tenure (P&T) process. Our P&T standards need to be strengthened and raised to R1 levels. Additionally, we are developing a process to periodically review and update our P&T policies and criteria.



Our objective is to maximize and realize opportunities to recognize and publicize faculty and staff’s achievements and contributions. We are committed to celebrating the achievements of our faculty and staff. Such recognition should be directed both at individuals and teams/units that have exceeded expectations, and it should involve recognition from leadership but also peer-to-peer recognition. It should include publicity both within our University community and beyond. We are pursuing multiple avenues for better recognizing our people’s accomplishments. However, our most important means of recognizing our great faculty and staff is to solicit their input and involve them (as we did with the Strategic Planning) in University decision-making.


Rewards (Compensation & Benefits).

Our objective is to offer compensation and incentive packages that attract and retain high-performing personnel. In the coming years, we will work toward equalizing 1) faculty’s pay and benefits to peer university levels and 2) staff’s pay and benefits to local industry standards. We will conduct a salary study so that we can make objective judgments and adjustments, determine funding sources/mechanisms and devise a new salary structure. Salary compression will be considered and addressed. A general principle of a new salary structure is more closely tying rewards to desired behaviors and performance. The result of these changes will be wider variations in salaries over time. Most of our efforts will be on equalizing compensation, but some improvements to benefits will also be explored. An important element of improving rewards will be educating and engaging staff and faculty in the fundamentals of funding the University so they can better assist in determining how to balance increased faculty and staff costs with other costs and match these costs with incoming funding (discussed further in Goal 7 – Generate and Steward Financial Resources).



Our objective is to create and upgrade programs and incentives to proactively retain wellperforming faculty and staff. Retention is important to containing costs and preserving institutional knowledge. Because retention strongly correlates to faculty and staff satisfaction, we are committed to continuing (from our Strategic Planning effort) to regularly gauge satisfaction through surveys and listening sessions. If our efforts in recruiting, support, professional development, advancement and leadership and rewards and recognition are fruitful, retention should mostly take care of itself. However, we will continue to explore proactive retention-specific actions. And we will expedite implementation of measures especially important to retention. Good retention policies include respectful separation processes for staff and faculty for whom our University is not a good fit.

Goal 5

Historical Data Targets
Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020 Fall 2021 Fall 2022 Fall 2023 Fall 2024 Fall 2025 Fall 2026 Fall 2027
Faculty Salaries as a % of Peer Group^ 98% 95% 96% 97% NA NA 98% 99% 101% 101%
Faculty Salaries as a % of Aspirant Group^ 91% 87% 87% 87% NA NA 89% 90% 92% 94%
Staff Salaries as a % of Local Index 98.6% 98.9% 98.5% 99.7% 94.3% 95.44% 96.58% 97.72% 98.86% 100%
Faculty Satisfaction* ND ND ND ND ND TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
Staff Satisfaction* ND ND ND ND ND TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
Number of Endowed Chairs 20 21 19 20 23 25 30 40 50 60
Number of Endowed Professorships ND ND ND ND 49 50 55 65 75 85

* = University has not tracked faculty/staff satisfaction

^ = Weighted percentages

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