Key Takeaways: 5 Ways to Maximize Your Impact in the New Academic Year

In the fast-paced world of human resources, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve.

To help HR professionals navigate a new year of challenges, this webinar brought together industry experts to share their insights. Each panelist — Lucas Delpriore, Omarion Jalloh, Ircka West, Melissa Davis, and Kendell Middlebrook – shared a key trend they’re watching this fall, along with advice and best practices for having the greatest impact at your institution. Read on for some key takeaways

Trend 1: Focus on Recruitment Marketing

Ircka West, Solution Engineer at PeopleAdmin, kicked off the discussion with the importance of recruitment marketing. For institutions looking to attract quality candidates, recruitment marketing is the key to unlocking a competitive hiring season. Recruitment marketing is multifaceted, including external job boards and outreach, refining an employer brand, segmenting and targeted communications, and internal marketing. If you’re feeling lost, Ircka had one suggestion for where to begin: the job board.

“Where do we go first when we’re looking for a role? The job board. Your team needs to think about what a candidate sees immediately when they get to the job board. Are they seeing roles that fit them? Are they seeing an institution where they will be happy working? Are they seeing a complex and outdated application process? Think about who you are and how you want to show that to your candidate. You want them to be able to picture themselves at your institution.”

Trend 2: Employee Experience Matters

Kendell Middlebrook, Solution Engineer at PeopleAdmin, explored the significance of employee experience, which encompasses every interaction within an organization from hire to retire. From initial job postings to retirement, and even before hiring through the job portal, employee experience plays a crucial role and every touchpoint can have an impact on retention. Kendell highlighted how engagement and productivity are closely linked, so ensuring that your employees feel engaged and satisfied by their work is beneficial for both the employee and the institution. A positive work environment, along with professional development, career growth, and employee recognition are also key for retention—and hiring is costly, so reducing turnover can translate to significant cost savings for your institution.

Trend 3: The Cost of Turnover

Omarion Jalloh, Associate VP, Office of Human Resources at Howard Community College, shed light on the often-overlooked costs of turnover. He emphasized the importance of performance management and impactful performance evaluations as a retention tool. Omarion urged HR professionals to focus on “what is your why” when it comes to performance management: employees need a clear sense of purpose to get the most out of their roles, and that starts at the top.

Trend 4: Upskilling and Career Pathing

Lucas Delpriore, Product Manager at PeopleAdmin, discussed the changed landscape of employee retention in HigherEd. He noted that, according to recent polls, “46-66% of universities have deliberately changed their approaches to employee retention in the last year. This highlights how much the landscape has changed—half of the HigherEd world is taking action to solve this challenge.”

Some tactics that colleges and universities are embracing today include the flexible or hybrid work environment, higher base salaries (when possible), increased training and professional development, and building career paths or professional journeys. Career pathing is key: clearly articulated paths and ranks can have a significant impact on retention, because employees are more motivated when their career journey is laid out in front of them. They know they have a future at your institution.

Trend 5: Transparent Evaluation ProcessesQuote: Employees need to know in advance what they’re going to be evaluated on.

Melissa Davis, Training Consultant at PeopleAdmin, tackled the issue of transparent performance management. She stressed the importance of employee perception when it comes to evaluations and goals, noting: “Employees need to know in advance what they’re going to be evaluated on. Prioritize the step of giving people buy-in at the beginning of the process. They should have clarity on setting goals, and knowing why those goals matter.”

Final Thoughts

With a focus on recruitment marketing, employee experience, reducing turnover, upskilling, and transparent evaluation processes, HR professionals have a roadmap to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the new academic year. Stay tuned for more updates and trends in HR as we move forward into 2024, and be sure to watch the full webinar on-demand.