Limited visibility into the unique and often complex needs of various departments across a college or university presents HR teams and departmental leaders with various position management challenges, including knowing when a position request is justified.
“It’s common in higher education to neglect necessary conversations about resource allocation across divisions, causing decision-makers to take action based on partial information, rather than addressing the full scope,” said Heather Murray, director of strategic partnerships at PeopleAdmin. “HR has an opportunity to lead these conversations by asking very specific and tactical questions during the position requisition process while keeping the big picture in mind.”
Drawing on her 16 years of experience working in higher education human resources, Heather suggested asking supervisors the following questions to determine the viability of a position:
- What does your workforce need? What is the justification for this request?
- What is your budget allocation for the request? Is it aligned to benchmark survey data and equitable with similar positions across campus?
- What is it going to take to bring someone on board?
- What is the expected return on investment?
- How does this position align with department goals, division goals, and the institutional mission?
During Heather’s time in higher education HR, she implemented a thorough position requisition process that ensured transparency and clarity around goals.
“Generally, the hiring manager or a department head would initiate the request. Then it would go through divisional budget approval, compliance vetting with human resources, the area vice president and central budget,” Heather said. “It was all front-end focused, so everybody was aware of what we were going for.”
Position Management—PeopleAdmin’s higher education-specific position management solution—empowers colleges and universities to ensure positions requisitions detail all necessary information, automates complex approval workflows, and provides HR with complete visibility into the entire process.
“Position Management allows us to track everything we need to track, which really helps inform our decision-making,” said Carol Ann Irby, executive director of human resources at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). “We can determine how soon we need to fill a necessary position, and we can prevent making an impulse decision about a position that would help out but isn’t critical.”