5 Best Practices for Managing the Entire Employee Experience
Education professionals come to work to make a difference – technology should support them in that mission, not get in the way.
Mitchell Welch, Principal Solutions Consultant at Frontline Education, and Sundie Dahlkamp, Executive Director of Human Resources at Pearland ISD, recently sat down to discuss how school districts can leverage technology to create an outstanding employee experience for their staff.
From proactively engaging with job seekers to managing employee-related forms across your district, these two K-12 experts took a deep dive on how technology can help to optimize school district’s branding, recruitment, position management, and more.
Here’s a breakdown of their conversation, and a couple of resources to help you get started.
The most common challenges in K-12 Human Resources:
When you work in Human Resources, it’s up to you to recruit, retain, and grow talented staff to create an outstanding educational experience for students. But it’s challenging to focus on your people when you’re shuffling paperwork or sending out thick onboarding packets and waiting for signatures. It tends to feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day.
Transactional HR and inefficient processes can make it tough to maintain compliance, get insight into up-to-date data, or even focus on standing out to potential candidates. If your district is still relying on manual systems to get work done, the challenges Mitchell addressed likely feel familiar:
The need to minimize paper to reduce siloed experiences.
Inconsistent employee experience impacts work culture.
Inconsistent processes to capture employee information and store it in one location.
Lack of reporting on trends and issues impairs the ability to understand and take action at the district leadership level.
“This is my 16th year in HR. When I got to my district, we were big fans of paper. We had an electronic application, but it was static. You would apply and what would we do? Print it out.”
Fortunately, there’s a way to overcome these challenges. Automating your manual processes with a human capital management system can empower your team to move past transactional HR and take on a more proactive role to building a stronger school system.
Best practices for managing the employee experience:
1. Have a strong foundation
Before diving into best practices, it’s important to lay the foundation. Despite what systems or tools you put in place, keep these three facets in mind. According to Mitchell and Sundie, these are the three critical components of a sustainable process for managing the employee experience:
Oversight: Maintaining accountability for programs and resources
Insight: Providing efficient processes on a day-to-day basis to helping good people do things better every day
Foresight: Looking ahead with data to predict trends in order to increase efficiency, productivity, and performance
“If you have data and aren’t sharing it, you don’t have foresight. Your data is only as good as the recipient. If we aren’t giving it to the people who need it, there’s no way to have foresight into what you should be doing next. It’s just a static roster otherwise.”
“Can we give data and have data reports running before a problem occurs? Or are we running these reports to find out why a problem occurred? If you’re running a report after the fact, when you look at your data it’s no longer valid because it’s outdated.”
2. Implement a position management plan
Position management is a district-wide process where positions are categorized into departments with an organizational structure that maps out everything from buildings to leadership and the relative staff needed to be successful across the district. It’s the ongoing management and optimization of positions. Implementing this plan can not only help you move beyond an organization chart and into more comprehensive mapping, but it can also help identify critical information designated at the position level.
“If I’m managing the position, I’m keeping up with the movement inside my organization. The true day to day. Is it a basketball coach? Is it a first-grade teacher? Do they work four hours a day or six?”
“Do you have visibility into how many vacancies do you have? Do you have visibility of the date of that vacancy? With one-click¬ can you see pending approval vacancies, certain location, partially filled? Position management is the movement of the position.”
Q: What did it look like in your district before you implemented a position management plan?
“To move an employee, to resign an employee, we literally had a piece of paper that would come to our office to get all of the signatures needed. 10 days was the average time for this process. If a bus driver went from part time to full time, our transportation secretary would type up an email and send it to a billion people. And that’s how we would find out.” – Sundie
Q: What did it look like in your district after?
“Now, I can transfer someone, reassign them, or change their hours all in a system. Is my bus driver now a master bus driver? Is my basketball coach now a head coach? These are things I can do behind the scenes when managing a position. This way we can notify anyone in the district of this change (who needs to know) instantly.” – Sundie
[eBook] Position Management Playbook for School Districts Read Now
3. Make the most of your job descriptions
Do your current job descriptions help you stand out amidst stiff competition? Enhancing your job postings will send you on your way to attracting even more qualified candidates and ultimately hire talent that aligns with your district’s mission, vision, and values.
Make sure your job postings are:
Clear and engaging
Emphasize professional development opportunities
Showcase your culture and community
List key requirements and preferred qualifications
“Are you using job descriptions to their fullest capability? Are you promoting your brand anywhere you can in your system? You should include a logo, diversity statement, mission statement, and a video talking about the job as a part of the job descriptions. Put a talking face that tells you who are so you can change how applicants think about you. Promote your culture where you can!”
3 Characteristics (and Examples) of Great Teacher Job Descriptions Read Now
4. Streamline your job requisitions
Job requisitions are an important element of recruiting as they ensure the process is structured, consistent, and aligned with the district’s needs and requirements. Because job requisitions can require the review and authorization of multiple stakeholders, not to mention the level of detail needed, a streamlined, simple process is of the upmost importance. Sticking to manual processes and paper spreadsheets can create too many unnecessary hurdles.
Manual job requisitions process:
Lack of standardization
Limited visibility and tracking
Difficulty in data analysis
Lack of scalability
Streamlined job requistions:
“We wanted to know the reason for the vacancy. With our system, I can go into my reports and give it a date segment and run nothing but vacancy reasons and tell my superintendent exactly why people are leaving. Building these out are so helpful because it allows principal to say exactly what they want in a requisition. We can then go in and customize the report to sort exactly what they need.”
“Let’s bring it back to our foundation with job requisitions. Think about how this process relates to oversight, insight, and foresight. With oversight, you’re maintaining policies and collecting data in order to see if you’re compliant. You’ve got insight because you’re giving hiring people the data they need to post the right job and the right description with no mistakes. And with foresight, you can run vacancy reasons to proactively see trends of why people are leaving. Creating job requisitions should help you make better decisions based on data and help you hire that much better.”
“We actually have 2 pipelines in regard to job requisitions. Hired or volunteer. When it goes out to our postings, we don’t want it to be confusing for a parent who wants to go on a field trip. There’s such a need for a simplistic process. Parents don’t want to go to the employment page, so we created a pipeline just for them.’
How to Handle Position Management and Control in Your District
5. Enhance your recommendation to hire process
Focusing in on and optimizing your rec-to-hire process will contribute to more effective hiring decisions and successful candidate selections.
“This is the big show for us. This process is one of the only processes you do that will impact every stakeholder. HR, applicants, everyone. Ours starts with a supervisor and they tell me a little bit about the person and any other details on a digital form (it’s also important to make sure they have buy-in on the form). Then it immediately comes into the HR department. My rec to hire process responds to the applicant that did get the job and the applicants that didn’t get the job.”
6 key takeaways for improving the employee experience
Hear it from the experts themselves:
1. You need a “forever process.”
“Are the processes that are in place in your district reliable on a person? If so, they aren’t sustainable. To maximize efficiency and guarantee that efficiency is ongoing…it can’t be reliant on the skillset of one individual on your team. You have to push the envelope. You want it to be a forever process. Not something that just works for today.”
2. Managing the employee experience is also about your culture.
“It’s critical to make sure the employee experience is well done, and manual processes can make that difficult. Employee experience relates to how them come to us, how they exist with us, and how they leave us. All three have to be aligned because this is your brand.”
3. Speed is the name of the game.
“If you’re not offering a job within 1-2 days of the interview, that applicant is gone. That’s the nature of the beast. Speed is of the essence. You need a process that is fast, accurate, and able to reach a lot of people at one time.”
4. It’s all about oversight, insight, and foresight.
“In HR and human capital management, having oversight means you have position and vacancy visibility. Having insight means you have proactive recruitment, centralized onboarding, and a professional growth journey. Having foresight means you’re managing your people through predictive data and analytics.”
5. Consider your stakeholders.
“In every process, are you touching every stakeholder? Whether it’s a superintendent, custodial supervisor, principal, a bus driver applicant, a parent…it has to be easy. You have to consider how every process is going to impact that stakeholder.”
6. Technology and human capital management software is the answer.
“Technology gives you proactive visibility, from resignation to budget changes, all the way to a new neighborhood being built.”
3 must haves when looking for a sustainable system
Now that you have a list of best practices for managing the employee experience, you might be ready to look into automating and streamlining the process.
When looking for a high-quality system to bring into your district, it’s important to ensure that it streamlines recruiting and hiring, onboarding, and training of new employees while also meeting the professional growth needs of a diverse workforce at the same time.
These are the three must haves for your new HR System as defined by Mitchell in the discussion:
Data entry and reporting has to be easy, accurate, and available on-demand.
The system has to manage the employee lifecycle from interview to hiring and onboarding, all the way through retention.
The system has to be intuitive and easy to navigate for all stakeholders.
Ready to improve the employee experience in your district? You can learn more here
Erin is a writer and member of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. With experience in education, she is passionate about creating content that helps to support and impact the growth of both students and teachers.