Grading Service Review

Page updated: 2 April 2024



In 2022, the Reward team worked with the Focus programme to carry out a Service Review of the HR grading service. 

The Review has taken a highly consultative approach, obtaining evidence from over 130 stakeholders across the University through 8 workshops, 18 interviews and 74 responses to targeted surveys.

A high-level implementation plan has been agreed, with targets and activities to be achieved over the next three years. The recommendations address the range of issues that have been raised through the engage and diagnose phases of the review. The three key recommendations are:

  • Immediate introduction of a ‘triage’ approach carried out centrally;
  • A longer-term Job Description Standardisation project; and
  • Improved training provision

See below for details of the workstreams created to develop an improved model for HR Grading operations.


The triage service ran for approximately 3 months to:  

  • Gather data to enable targeted communications and training and guide the implementation of the medium and long-term review recommendations;  
  • Improve turnaround times, with more efficient movement of requests through the process;   
  • Reduce the number of full JEs carried out; and  
  • Reduce time spent seeking additional information. 

As part of the triage process, new reports and a tracker were introduced to monitor turnaround times, and allocation of work to analysts was centralised. A daily stand up meeting was introduced in order to track work and to share insights gained from the process within the grading team.

407 requests were triaged over the 3 month period. In 16% of cases (across 37 departments), departments were contacted by the Triage Service to highlight a particular issue and to rectify the problem.

During the Triage period, grading turnaround times reduced by 2 days on average. The Triage process identified that gradings can be reduced by 20%. Issues fell into broad themes, and a range of measures are now being implemented with the aim of improving turnaround times and user experience. 


Recommendations following Triage Status
Add position type New Job - Existing JD and issue guidance to support departments to provide this information up front Complete
Review contract decision matrix and re-issue to clarify purpose of information provided, improve consistency of terminology, and increase understanding of post/appointment structure Complete
Create new automated tracking and reporting in HR Reporting to replace the temporary Triage tracker Complete
Update and simplify the regrading application form and guidance to aid completion Complete
Remove contract change processes from the Staff Request process and delegate to departments In progress
Set up training sessions with departments experiencing repeated and multiple issues Complete

Planning for this workstream commenced on 15 January 2024, engaging with department and central HR teams across the University to gather insights on experiences to help shape and co-create our approach to standardising job descriptions. 

Workstream Objectives

  1. Develop a suite of JD's to meet the needs of analytical job evaluations & the differing departmental needs 

  1. Reduce job evaluations being carried out by the central reward team 

  1. Increase the quality & consistency of JD's 

  1. To put in place mechanisms & processes for ongoing insight & review of standard JD's so that they remain relevant & appropriate 

Projected benefits to departments: 

  • Streamlined approach for developing job descriptions – reducing the amount of time spent writing job descriptions by line managers & departmental HR teams 

  • Greater clarity, efficiency and consistency for managing the job evaluation process   

As part of the engagement sessions for the standardisation of job descriptions project, consideration has been given to what training, resource and guidance may be beneficial in order to meet the suggested improvements highlighted in the Grading Service Review. 

This may include:

  • developing appropriate training and resources relating to HERA;
  • writing job descriptions;
  • regrading and reward options; and
  • the grading process including pre-application and case management services. 

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