University Business October 2017 - 26

HUMAN RESOURCES

Run like a business but act like a college
How to align HR and recruitment strategies with the institution's goals
By Carol Patton

T

he strategic plans of every administrator and department
must work collectively toward
the overall goals of a college or university.
It's a bit like playing dominoes where
each tile connects to another but always
links back to the first tile played. Sounds
simple but it's not a common practice at
higher education institutions.
Act like a business
Consider a college that needs to attract
higher-quality job candidates but its HR
department slashes employee benefits to
control costs.
"If schools want to be successful, they
must be able to run like a business but
act like a college," says Nancy Florey, VP
of HR at the Pennsylvania College of
Health Sciences.
Several years ago, HR and recruiters
at the college aligned their strategies to
help the school achieve key goals, such as
hiring enough quality talent to run science and nursing programs.
They shortened the time to fill positions from over 100 days to 36. Recruiters began following up with hiring managers, giving them deadline dates and
inquiring about the status of applicants.
Any awards the college received
were mentioned in job advertisements.
Job descriptions became informal or
conversational. Employee testimonials
were featured on the school's redesigned
webpage. The school also introduced an
education degree for students interested
in a teaching career.

UBmag.me/run

26 | October 2017

"With competition the way that it
is for these types of positions, we have
to do everything we can and try to do
things differently," Florey says. "That's
one of the things that keep us afloat
compared to other institutions."

A social media strategy
informs candidates
about work environment,
school initiatives and
campus culture.
All in together
Many departments at universities share
basic goals, especially involving talent acquisition. The strategies implemented by
HR should not only support each other
but also reflect the school's mission.
Take Princeton University, for example. Its goal is to increase the diversity
of its 4,000-member staff and fill highly
specialized positions, says Claire Jacobs
Elson, assistant vice president of HR at
the school.
HR, along with Princeton's talent
acquisition team, developed a new
slogan-More Impact Than You Can
Imagine-which was an essential part of
its overall strategy for filling niche positions; so was using the university website
to let employees share their positive work
and personal experiences on campus.
In January, HR also launched a talent acquisition system from iCIMS that
sends job notifications to candidates. It
also offers recruiters a searchable database
and helps them engage candidates in real
time to fill the school's talent pipeline.
HR is developing a social media campaign to better inform candidates about

things like the work environment, school
initiatives and campus culture.
"When HR goes through its annual
goal-setting process and establishes office
priorities, we always link them to university priorities," Elson says. "That cascades
down to what the talent acquisition team
needs to do."
Helping retention
Heather Brooks, HR director at Thomas
Edison State University in New Jersey,
had a seat at the table when the school
created a strategic plan that prioritized
leveraging the school's infrastructure
and technology to meet employee and
student needs. In January, HR implemented a new system (ADP Workforce)
that improved the way it recruited and
onboarded employees, and also reduced
time to fill positions.
Another goal was developing human
capital to support students and the institution. HR introduced telecommuting
options and flexible work schedules for
its staff, which expanded the hours of
operation for student support services. It
also launched cross-functional training
opportunities to help employees stand
out as internal candidates.
Supervisors are now being trained on
how to conduct employee evaluations
in an effort to boost retention. Learning
and development along with employee
assessment activities have also transitioned to digital and electronic formats,
something many job candidates expect.
"We are becoming more strategic
in our goal-setting," says Brooks. "This
linkage is what leads to success."
Carol Patton is a Las Vegas-based writer who
specializes in human resources issues.
www.universitybusiness.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business October 2017

University Business October 2017 - Cover1
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University Business October 2017 - 1
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