Human Resources Compensation FAQ

Compensation FAQ

Welcome to NOVA's Human Resources Compensation home page. Our mission is to ensure that all services, programs, employee development, policy procedures, personnel actions and pay practices are administered fairly, consistently, equitably and within the parameters of the law.

What is Compensation?

Compensation includes the complete pay package for employees including all forms of money, benefits, services and in-kind payments. When determining and justifying compensation, 13 pay factors are considered. These factors are: agency business needs; duties and responsibilities; performance; work experience and education; knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies; training, certification and licensure; internal salary alignment; market availability; salary reference data; total compensation; budget implications; long term impact; and current salary. Each position is analyzed on all of these factors when compensation is being determined.

What is a Position?

A position is a single job defined by a written position description in which the unique duties are clearly defined. The Position Description outlines these duties for all employees including Classified (P3), Wage (P14), and Administrative Faculty.

What is Position Classification?

Position classification is the analysis of those duties and responsibilities associated with that position or group of positions. This analysis helps determine the appropriate Career Group and Role Code to which a position is assigned. This Career Group and Role Code determine the salary range for the position. A classification describes the level of work being performed in a position, not the specific content of the position.

Classification is:

  • Able to identify qualifications necessary to perform the job and the conditions where the work is performed
  • Focused on job complexity (difficulty), accountability and results (outcomes)
  • Reporting the job as it exists at the time of the analysis; not as it was in the past or as it is in another organization or campus

Classification is not:

  • An analysis of thought processes, attitudes, traits or aptitudes
  • An analysis on an individual’s performance
  • A way to reward an employee for outstanding or long-term service
  • A way to provide salary increases to employees

More information about Virginia’s Compensation and Classification policies may be found at the Department of Human Resource Management.

Position Description/Performance Plan

The Position Description is a portion of the Employee Work Profile (EWP), lists all of the information about the position, as well as giving a clear and concise description of what duties and responsibilities the position is required to perform. Annual performance will be evaluated on these criteria. The Position Description portion of the EWP for Classified (P3) employees also requires Measures to each Core Responsibility. Measures provide information to evaluate accomplishment of results. Measures are usually specified in terms of quantity, quality, timeliness or cost. This is developed by the employee currently in the position and the supervisor and describes the steps to take to be able to perform the expected duties well.

When do I have to complete and submit a Position Description portion of the EWP?

  • When a new position needs to be established and created.
  • When a position becomes vacant and is ready to post for recruitment.
  • For submission to HR in December each year. At the beginning of each performance evaluation cycle, October 25 of each year. The Position Description portion of the EWP is developed for the next performance evaluation cycle.
  • When job duties and responsibilities change significantly.

Questions on completing the EWPs can be sent to or by calling Human Resources at 703.323.3110.

Position Transactions:

The actions requested by the supervisor for a position include:

  • Establishment
    • Establishment is the creation of a new position to NOVA. It requires approval by the President and/or Administrative Council. Supervisors will submit the approval and draft Position Description portion of the EWP to the Compensation Team for review. A member of the Compensation Team will work with you to ensure that the Position Description is complete and accurate before classifying the position. Once a recommended classification has been approved for the new position, a position number will be assigned and the position can be recruited for and filled.
  • Competitive Salary Offer
    • A competitive salary offer request is made by the supervisor when an employee has received an offer from an outside agency or employer and the supervisor requests additional compensation to the employee for retention purposes. The outside agency may be another state agency, but must be outside of NOVA. The supervisor submits a request and a copy of the employee’s offer in writing to the Compensation Team for review. Competitive Salary Offer requests are responded to within two business days.
  • Position Review (request for reclassification of a position)
    • A Position Review is requested when substantial changes to the Position Description have occurred. An employee should work with their supervisor to update their position description so it provides an accurate description of the duties actually being performed. New duties should be performed for about six months before requesting a Position Review to ensure permanency of the new duties. The Compensation Team will review the revised Position Description portion of the EWP and make a recommendation for classification and/or compensation adjustments.
    • The determination to assign or move a position from one classification to another is based on the prevalence of assigned duties, as well as the organizational framework and positioning of similar positions in the same classification.
    • Changes to job duties should be made to the position’s description and are analyzed by the Human Resources Classification Team. The reclassification process is “incumbent neutral” and does not depend upon personal employee characteristics such as job performance or seniority. The review of a position for classification also relies on “benchmark” jobs, comparable positions, and precedents, in addition to the VCCS and Commonwealth of Virginia regulations and classifications.
  • Temporary Pay
    • Temporary Pay requests are made when an employee has been assigned to perform different key (essential) duties on an interim basis, or for critical assignments associated with a special time-limited project. Temporary Pay may also be requested for employees serving in an acting capacity in a higher level position, or for military pay supplements.
  • Reporting Change (short-term and long-term changes)
    • Reporting Change requests are made when a change is being made to the currently approved Organizational Chart. The Compensation Team will review the request to ensure that the change will not adversely affect other areas of the Department or College. The new supervisory responsibilities must be updated in all affected EWPs.
  • Notice of Vacancy (formerly known as the NOV)
    • A Notice of Vacancy is submitted by the supervisor with an updated Position Description portion of the EWP to recruit and post a current vacancy in their Department. The Compensation Team will review the EWP to ensure its proper classification and assign a hiring range before the position can be posted on the website.

Questions on completing a transaction to a position may be directed to or by calling Human Resources at 703.323.3110.