More colleges and universities ask their Human Resources (HR ) to function as a strategic partner. This transformation has developed the part of the HR team. In years past, HR in higher education was restricted to tactical and transactional employment. Now, HR serves as a strategic partner to the institution’s leaders as they cope with issues, such as workforce diversity, employee relations and compensation. Higher Education is constantly changing due to globalization, growing competition and staff. Students attend Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to continue their final stage of formal education by focusing on areas of interest so that one day they will be able to be marketable in a certain industry. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life working for a higher education institution.
Most of my tenure has been in Human Resources working in the Talent Acquisition department and also the Training and Development department. Higher Education Institutions want to make sure they are choosing the right candidates to prepare their students with the knowledge needed to perform their future jobs and to develop growth within its institution. ‘Faculty are hired to teach, research and publish. Administrators are hired to provide structure and to hold the faculty accountable for the delivery of quality education to the university community.
Staff is hired to perform the day-to-day operations ranging from administration to budgeting to risk management, etc.’ Human Resource Management is responsible for several components within Higher Education processes. According to the American Strategy publication, many “colleges and universities became interested in instituting a strategic approach to human resource management in their organizations” (Keller, 1983).
In this ever changing world of higher education, the Human Resource professionals must seek faculty and staff members domestically as well as globally to stay competitive and relevant with today’s students. HR addresses some of the challenges of seeking a talented and diverse faculty and staff for colleges and universities. Additional challenges are budgets, rise of healthcare cost, leadership development, automation and technology.
As you can see, higher education human resources teams are changing dramatically. To keep up with the times and address the numerous HR challenges in higher education, we recommend that these teams analyze the items above and then implement some tips. Doing so will increase efficiency in the department and improve the overall HR delivery.
HR departments are using well tested methods for recruitment and selection such as: Human Resource professionals in colleges and universities have yet to take advantage of existing opportunities to develop solid approaches for both faculty and staff to participate in the job analysis development plans regarding moving talent management practices into viable programs and proposals. Work Cited: Strategic HR and Talent Management in Higher Education. (2012). ASHE Higher Education Report, 38(1), 45-67.
Higher education HR professionals are directly involved in the recruitment and selection of both faculty and staff. The recruitment and selection process for colleges and universities is being able to hire competent and proficient professors and staff so they can reach the demands of economic growth. Over the years Higher Education institutes have utilized many different tools for recruitment and selection.
Some of the tools are primarily with staffing agencies, jobs sites, the organization’s website, job fairs, etc. There are levels to the selection process when it comes to making the right choice. HR professionals selecting the appropriate candidates for the available positions can be quite challenging. If hiring for instructional positions, candidates usually must obtain some level of education. A great job description typically tells you what level of education is needed. Since I use to review applicants for faculty positions, I know that education and industry experience was required for most available Instructional positions.
Of course, the descriptions also should fit the subject area for which an applicant would apply for. Administrative and staff positions normally required some type of education and depending on the type of position depending on what level of education is needed. The selection criteria usually include an interview with a search committee and a demonstration of a lesson for faculty positions. Administrative and staff positions will include an interview with maybe a search committee, possible skills assessment, or PowerPoint presentation.
Compensation is important with any position but must be at a competitive rate. This goes for full-time or adjunct professors as well as staff positions in higher education. Living in a large city like Houston, Texas with several surrounding institutions there is a need for professors in various subject areas. Candidates will choose to apply and accept positions with organizations that offer the best rate. Houston has at least 6 major Universities and 4 surrounding Community Colleges within the city. Along with compensations comes benefits you want to be a part of an organization that will have good benefits. Increasing healthcare cost is a huge concern in HR for Higher Education.
Training and Development is a very key component to HRM in Universities & Colleges. Human Resources manages the learning of its employees in order to prepare for growth within its organization. Strategic plans are mapped out for institutions in advanced for upcoming fiscal years in order to meet the organizational goals. This way its employees are trained up for the direction the college or university is going. As competition for candidates increase and current workforce ages, Leadership development, and succession planning will become a priority.
HRM for higher education institutions must have adequate technology to make sure that the processes of potential and current employees are seamless. Tracking systems are very useful in the selection process. One popular system is called PeopleAdmin that many institutions were utilized to track potential candidates until recently. A new system called Taleo is being used more and more by institutions.
Working in this industry, I’ve been a part of a major upgrade with the system in HR. For years we used PeopleAdmin for our selection processes. Now the college is using a more trending system called Taleo. What prompted the change is that other Universities and Colleges had recently changed and our college needed to be competitive as well have a more seamless process for the prospective candidates and our recruiters. These days technology is a high demand no matter what industry is hiring.
In order to reach the best candidates, you have to keep up with the latest. You don’t want a system that makes it hard for the applicant to apply or submit documentation. With updated technology applicants can submit the application, resumes, transcripts, and cover and recommendation letters with tabs/links to each requested area. Using trending systems instead of outdated paper processes can reduce operational efficiencies and incorporating, integrating and implementing new technology will become even more vital.
Performance appraisals are also a common practice within Universities and Colleges. They are set up differently for many organizations. Institutions have to focus on the performance of its Professors as well as the staff. Professors are evaluated on the passing rate of his/her students, I believe student evaluations may also play a role in this process. Professors may also be measured in a lecture set by their department chair, just to observe how well the professor is interacting with its students.
However, class observation can be quite difficult when it comes to appraisals. It can depend on the lesson being delivered for that particular day. Staff, on the other hand, are appraised based on quantitative and qualitative methods. Some appraisals come with a compensation system. Compensation systems that are tied to appraisals may motivate staff to a better performance during the fiscal year.
Opportunities of globalization of higher education knowledge is the driving forces in the rapidly changing globalize economy and society. Quantity and quality of specialized human resources determine their competence in the global market. Emergence of knowledge results in both challenges and opportunities. It is well known that the growth of the global economy has increased opportunities for those countries with good levels of education. Globalization has a multi-dimensional impact on the system of education. Universities or colleges that retain faculty and staff tend to have quality programs that automatically build the retention and completion rate for the University.
To conclude if your role includes leading HR in a higher education setting, you make decisions that significantly impact the well-being and happiness of your institution’s employees, students and stakeholders. Each day you must navigate matters, such as deciding health care benefits and retirement contribution plans. You’re also charged with managing position or employee terminations, as well as attracting and retaining highly skilled applicants, both of which can define the success of your institution.