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Three Key Takeaways from April 29 Todd Talks: A Budget Conversation with the CFO

CFO Todd Haggerty and AVC of HR teri engelke announce new comprehensive compensation plan; address faculty and staff concerns

May 3, 2022

In a special edition of Todd Talks: A Budget Conversation with the CFO, CU Denver’s CFO Todd Haggerty welcomed Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources teri engelke (who uses lowercase for her name) for an interactive conversation on budget-related initiatives underway to help CU Denver achieve goal 5 of its 2030 Strategic Plan, becoming a people-centered best place to work.  

The Todd Talks series kicked off in December 2021 to provide ongoing financial transparency and answer budget-related questions from the CU Denver campus community. The April 29 webinar addressed concerns among faculty and staff, including compensation, inflation, benefit increases, and more, followed by a live Q&A. Below are three key takeaways. Faculty and staff are encouraged to watch the event recording for more information.  

Comprehensive Compensation Plan Will Help Form Defined Salary Structure 

Engelke, who joined the university in February to help lead a campus-centric HR unit, announced a “comprehensive compensation collaborative” underway that will better define CU Denver’s salary structure, address salary disparities across campus, and provide clear career progression opportunities. Building on CU Denver’s commitment to Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, the compensation plan focuses on increasing equity, making informed decisions based on market research, and addressing compensation compression, which occurs when less experienced employees earn close to what more experienced employees and/or supervisors make. 

Engelke said the compensation work will take two years to complete but emphasized that the HR team is committed to making progress in the compensation space immediately. “What we’re trying to build into our budget every single year are funds for equity and compression-related issues, and we have that right now,” engelke said.  

Other priorities include updating and making salary ranges available to university staff by this summer; providing guidance on upcoming budget-related initiatives, including a Jan. 1, 2023 merit increase of 3% for all faculty and university staff; working with internal and external consultants to collect market data; and collecting feedback from the campus community to increase compensation transparency. 

CU Denver-Centric HR Team Grows; Focus on Onboarding to Increase 

The HR team is working to build a more comprehensive, consistent onboarding process to help promote high-impact practices and employee support. To assist in this space, an employee relations consultant and talent acquisition consultant have joined the CU Denver-centric HR team. “We’re starting to say, how do we also support supervisors and managers and create a really amazing experience to bring new folks into?” engelke said. “We will share these new onboarding processes with the community.” 

Increase in Benefits; Open Enrollment Happening Now 

With rising costs associated with the pandemic, increased medical and prescription usage, and an all-time high annual inflation, it’s no surprise that health, life, and dental premiums are increasing for the next year, Haggerty said. While premium costs will increase across the board for employees, CU, pays approximately 90% of all costs, on average, across all medical and dental benefits.  

Open enrollment is happening now and ends at 5 p.m. May 6. Engelke provided an overview of some of the health and wellness services for employees to consider as they participate in open enrollment 

  • CFO Todd Haggerty and AVC of HR teri engelke announce new comprehensive compensation plan; address faculty and staff concerns CU medical plan enrollees will be able to receive one preventative mental health visit each year covered at no charge. 
  • Those enrolled in an Anthem medical plan will have added coverage for fertility treatments through WINFertility. The coverage includes cycle-based fertility services including fertility support programs, in-vitro fertilization and associated prescription drugs. Treatment will need to be medically necessary and will require preauthorization. 
  • CU Health Plan and Kaiser enrollees will have full coverage for surgical and nonsurgical expenses related to live organ donation. Plan enrollees who donate an organ will not be subject to coinsurance and copays, hitting the benefit maximum threshold, or observing wait times for coverage. 

In Closing  

Throughout the webinar, Haggerty and engelke acknowledged that while all budget-related questions may not have answers, their team is committed to providing transparency and making actionable change in the compensation and employee support spaces.  

“We’re not always going to love the answer we get, but if we understand how we get to the answer, that can sometimes help,” Haggerty said. “There’s a lot of different ways to answer transparency-related questions. But I think the biggest thing is, are we having a dialogue about it? Are we translating items into action? That is what we need to be able to do.” 

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