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Human Capital Management

Analytics in Action: Innovative Approaches to Attract, Engage, Grow and Retain Top Talent in K-12

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Are you facing challenges in attracting, engaging, or retaining top talent in your district? Do you want to gain valuable insights into leveraging data to overcome the teacher shortage?
In a recent webinar, two K-12 industry experts dove into a discussion on techniques for leveraging data to attract, engage, and retain top-tier professionals, focusing on unique approaches that foster employee growth and increase retention rates.
This blog post aims to summarize their conversation, provide district leaders with actionable takeaways, and answer any lingering questions you may have about data analytics and Human Capital Management.
Watch the full webinar here!

Webinar Speakers:

  • Kevin Agnello, Product Manager, Frontline Education
  • Keegan Bassett, Director of Human Resources, Queen Creek Consolidated School District

Webinar Topics:

  • Strategies for dealing with recruitment challenges in a rapidly growing district.
  • National data trends in K-12 recruiting and hiring
  • How to analyze your district’s data to identify top talent and boost retention rates. 

About Queen Creek Consolidated School District:

  • Phoenix Metro Area
  • 14,000 students
  • A rapidly growing district: six new schools in the past eight years


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[Case Study] How Queen Creek Unified School District Uses Data Analytics to Improve Hiring Practices and Respond to Rapid Growth
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The Teacher Shortage: National Data vs. District Data

Before diving into innovating hiring strategies and techniques, Kevin set the stage for the webinar by analyzing trends in the teacher shortage, using a nationally representative data set of 1,500 school districts. At the highest level, the data revealed a noticeable decline in the number of applicants per posting, indicating a supply-side issue in the teacher shortage.
Though this trend may also hold true in certain areas across the U.S., it’s not always the exact case. When we analyze these metrics at a regional or even at the district-level, they tend to vary, stressing the importance of district-level data analysis. Why? It’s not just about recognizing broad trends; it’s about understanding the unique dynamics at play within your educational community. Such nuanced insights are crucial for developing targeted, effective strategies to address your specific challenges in teacher recruitment and retention.
(If you’re interested in hearing Kevin speak more in depth about these trends, tune in at the 8:30 marker!)


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[Research Brief] The Local Teacher Shortage: An Investigation into Varying Degrees of Labor Shortages by Region
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Kevin Agnello
Q: What do you think these trends are like in your district? How have you been combatting dwindling applicant pools?

Keegan Bassett
A: “The reality is your data likely doesn’t align perfectly with national trends or state trends. You have to dig into what your district’s data says and that is what will drive your first action steps. We look at what we’re experiencing at Queen Creek, not the Phoenix Metro Area or the State of Arizona. We leverage our data that we access through Human Capital Analytics to map out our short-term and long-term goals.”

ROI & Effective Recruiting Strategies: Digging into Referral Sources

After delving into the nuances of regional and district-level data trends in K-12 recruitment, Kevin and Keegan segway into a discussion of adopting a data-driven mindset and the importance of “zeroing in” on successful recruiting channels.
Kevin Agnello
Q: How do you know you’re getting an ROI on your recruiting strategies? What sort of data are you using to get a deeper understanding?

Keegan Bassett
A: “Within the Human Capital Analytics platform, we’re able to pull what percentage of our applicants are coming from different referral sources. Last year we were short probably 50% of our overall allocated bus driver department. We did print media ads around town, hung banners, handed out cards at career centers…and we would list these referral sources to see where we were getting the best ROI. We found out our banners that listed hourly rate, full-time benefits, and overtime paid training, generated the most applicants out of all the referral sources.”

8 Best Practices for Recruiting and Hiring in K-12

As the webinar continues, Kevin and Keegan discuss innovative and successful approaches to recruiting and hiring in Queen Creek Consolidated School District. The list below summarizes the essence of their conversation, distilling it into eight best practices. From streamlining the application process and leveraging local partnerships with universities to harnessing the power of data analytics, these key strategies are here to help district leaders transform the way they attract and retain top talent.

    “You see all the different advertisements from major retail stores and fast-food restaurants where they promote ‘apply today, work today, get paid today’. We can’t do all that in the public education sector so what we do focus on is what we can control and the timeline that it takes to get people through the hiring process. Focus on what areas in your process you can really trim down to be as competitive as possible.” –Keegan Bassett
    “[We have] internal brainstorming sessions, we talk to colleagues in other districts, and we even look at a different perspective of how organizations like Walmart or Amazon are hiring drivers. You’ve got to modify strategies and adjust based off the position type. How we engage classified staff is going to be entirely different than what we would do for an administrative level position.” –Keegan Bassett
    “We try to connect with colleges and their career centers to gather as many lists as possible of students that are going to be graduating with the required certification and approved endorsement areas that we need.” –Keegan Bassett

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    “The more we can feed out what our active openings are and push that onto the applicants, the better. They [shouldn’t be] required to go dig through our job board to see what’s available and out there.” –Keegan Bassett
    “We have an HR recruiter that we shield away from the other day-to-day HR operations so that their number one job is to just regularly engage with applicants. I can’t stress enough the success that we’ve experienced. We have our own specific recruitment phone number and email to help guide people through the process, and to cast the widest net possible for applicants, to and then allow our hiring managers to select the highest quality applicant for the position.” –Keegan Bassett
    “We do an “all team” PD as we gear up for hiring season. [We go over] a hiring timeline and expectations for all departments within our district. Everything from the Transportation Department, Nutrition, the Community Education Department…we make sure to engage everyone in the same process so that we can be successful during each hiring season.” –Keegan Bassett
    “If we delay interviews after an applicant has applied by two or three weeks, that person likely already has two or three different job offers. If we don’t move quickly and aggressively, somebody else is going to take them up. So, from the time a job has posted to the time that an employee has accepted and been scheduled for onboarding, it should really be between 21-28 days on average.” –Keegan Bassett
    “Once an applicant is submitted, we look at how many days it takes our hiring managers to review those applicants. Has our hiring team set up a timeline for when they plan to conduct screening of applicants? When do they plan to conduct interviews? How quickly are we reviewing the applicant credentials? How quickly are we generating a job offer, confirming acceptance, and going through the background checks?” –Keegan Bassett


Analytics in Action Webinar: The 3 Main Takeaways

As we wrap up our exploration of the “Analytics in Action” webinar, it’s clear that the integration of data analytics into recruitment and hiring practices isn’t just a “nice-to-have”, but a transformative tool for K-12 HR leaders. The insights shared by Kevin and Keegan underscore the power of data-driven strategies in identifying, attracting, and retaining the best talent for school districts.
If you’re eager to dive even deeper into these strategies, check out the full webinar. But in the meantime, if you’re hoping for a couple of quick takeaways to implement or share with your team, look no further:

  1. Know your data: Don’t rely on national trends, regional trends, state level trends and assume they apply directly to your district. The best data is your data, and what’s happening in your district.
  2. Clean data is king: You can’t analyze data to improve your outcomes if data is poor. So first, evaluate your data-logging practices. Consider this: are you creating and maintaining data in such a way that it can be analyzed for change?
  3. Evaluating data and hiring practices: Of course, it’s critical to evaluate data on your applicants during the hiring processes, but so is evaluating your own HR practices and hiring processes.

Questions to consider:

  • Is your application too long or complicated?
  • Are your pipelines too slow?
  • Do you have too many pipelines?
  • Are you collecting data to be able to answer those questions?

Your school district collects a ton of data. It’s just a matter of using and analyzing the data that’s already there. Learn more about Human Capital Analytics here.