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Is Talent Management and HR Automation Right for my Institution?
The wins are substantial. Higher education HR professionals face daunting challenges: paper-based processes, communication with multiple constituencies, and coordinating with distributed locations. Strategic needs include attracting top talent, leadership development, and succession planning.
In a survey of 80 colleges and universities, most HR leaders reported that their institution does core HR functions well (benefits, retirement, core data). However, they saw “significant opportunities to improve service delivery and shift investments to the areas that improve effectiveness,” including employee and manager self-service, automated workflow, and centralized support. The one dark cloud in their response rests in the lack of investment in technology to support talent management practices.
It’s clear that higher education talent management professionals see the opportunities to impact key challenges through new approaches and the use of technology. The latest talent management practices can bring relief to an institution’s financial pressures, succession concerns, and more.
Here’s everything needed to transform your program: finding top talent, onboarding processes, employee engagement, blended learning, social recruiting, and other important topics.
Best Practices in HR Automation for Higher Education
Institutions of higher education face many challenges today. Keeping the institution financially viable and sustainable is the challenge most frequently cited in surveys. Shrinking funding sources, pressure from parents, taxpayers and government to keep tuition affordable, and the lingering recession have forced colleges and universities to make difficult decisions.
To address these challenges, more colleges and universities are embracing new talent management best practices. A recent article in University Business defines it this way: "Talent management refers to the overall process of developing, managing and retaining employees, including recruiting, learning and training, compensation, employee performance management, and succession planning."
Have you explored integrated talent management? SilkRoad’s resource center provides best practices, practical tips, research, and more. Start here:
Top Tips to Streamline and Simplify the Recruiting Process
Although approaches may differ based on the institution, higher education recruiters agree on the basic value of recruiting and applicant tracking systems. Benefits shared at a recent conference include:
- Flexibility to support evolving needs
- Easier candidate interaction
- Simplified processes
- Stronger communication tools
These solutions deliver larger scale benefits for higher education because of the greater length and complexity of the hiring cycle, especially for faculty positions. The use of technology can reduce the time to “touch” a new hire by as much as 200% and reduce administrative processing by up to 60% through automated workflows and real time reporting. Recruiting solutions also eliminate agency fees (which can equal 40% of the new hire’s annual salary), so they are a favorite cost-cutting tactic.
New Approaches for Onboarding and Engagement
Some colleges and universities reach out to engage new employees before they even arrive on campus through an onboarding portal. It keeps the incoming employee enthusiastic before the start date and communication consistent for everyone internally. It also clears the “administrivia” out of the way so that the new employee’s first day starts among colleagues, not filling out forms. In addition to a great first impression, automated onboarding cuts administrative costs and frees HR time for more productive uses.
How to Prepare for Succession and the Future
One researcher predicts “at least a 50% turnover rate among senior higher education administrators within the next five to ten years.”
While succession planning ranks as a top priority for colleges and universities of all sizes, Aon Hewitt survey respondents rated this function as either ‘somewhat ineffective’ or ‘not effective at all’ (61% and 48%, respectively) in their home institutions. Planning a leadership development strategy and automating succession planning directly addresses a big HR challenge facing higher education today and offers a high potential return-on-investment.
Download Measuring Leadership Development in SilkRoad Book Club and Top 8 Elements of Successful Succession Planning to learn more.
What’s the ROI for a Higher Education Institution?
Talent management is a top-down strategy that must become part of the institution’s DNA. Launching it takes whole-hearted executive backing; embedding it in the culture requires substantial, sustained commitments of time, energy, and resources by many people. A reasonable question to ask is whether this investment will pay off, both in financial return on technology and results for the institution.
Research by Bersin & Associates consultants quantifies the value to be obtained by integrating various talent management processes. They found that “organizations that were highly effective at integrating L&D (learning and development) with performance … were three times more likely to report good employee results, 55 times more likely to report strong overall talent management results and 100 times more likely to report strong business results."
Two great resources tell a results story: Lord Fairfax Community College Case Study and The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Integrated Talent Management.
“Employees don’t spend their first days signing a hundred things. They can start working with colleagues on day one. That makes a positive first impression.” Lord Fairfax Community College
We asked HR professionals to share with us the pains and challenges they face each day in effectively managing and engaging their talent.
SilkRoad’s latest survey asked 329 HR Professionals what were the top concerns they had in their organizations HR department. Below are the top concerns in 2015 that’s keeping HR Up At Night.
The employer brand determines the quality of the workforce. It drives the level of engagement, motivation and retention, which is strongly linked to higher revenues, profit margins and overall returns on investment. Companies capable of attracting the best talent simply perform better!
Talent management in higher education is more complex than in business. Simply administering the employee lifecycle from hire to retirement takes enormous effort. HR managers serve more constituencies—faculty, administrators, and operations staff at the minimum. Each constituency recruits, compensates, and evaluates employees using different criteria and procedures, which may vary by department, school, and campus. Many decisions go through hiring committees instead of a hiring manager. Many locations within a system may have a say. Isn’t it time to tackle the paper chase?
Just for HR professionals in higher education: We’ve curated the best recruiting, new hire onboarding, and general talent acquisition resources into one easy to access location. Listen to experts, read reports, check your benchmarks. It’s all designed to help you find top talent, stay compliant, onboard seamlessly across many locations.
As more higher education institutions turn to recruitment automation, recruiters are discovering the flexibility available to set up programs, work with faculty and staff, and communicate with candidates. A group of higher education recruitment professionals, led by Polk State College, recently gathered to compare notes on programs and the different ways they use SilkRoad’s Recruiting.