Human Capital Management

What Can MASH Teach Us about Position Control in Schools?

3 min. read

There’s a reason that shows like “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” and books like “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” quickly became so popular. While it may have been a while since you were running around on the playground with your classmates, don’t you remember how intensely strategic some of the games were?

One of the games that stands out to me as having real-life applications in the K-12 Human Resources world is the game MASH. No, I’m not talking about the popular TV series. The playground game MASH, where just a few scribbles on a composition notebook could determine your fate.

Take a trip down memory lane and explore what that game teaches us about position control in schools!

What Does a Game Have to Do with Position Control?

Let’s start with a refresher on the game (just in case the rules are escaping you right now).

With some friends in the school yard, you’d write out the letters M.A.S.H on a piece of paper. Each letter stood for mansion, apartment, shed, house, then you’d proceed to list out a ton of different options.

  • The name of your spouse?
  • The number of kids you’ll have?
  • Which city to live in?

The entire objective of the game was to cross off options from the list until you ended up with a choice from each category. In the 90’s, most kids were trying to rig the game to end up in a mansion, married to Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston, maybe with a handful of kids in Honolulu.

It’s fun to dream and have options, but in the world of K-12 HR you want processes to be reliable and predictable. When it comes to position control and management in schools, you need more than simply a grasp on all the available options.

When you don’t have a strong position control strategy in place, it can feel like you’re playing this game every time you hire — except it’s less fun when there are real-world implications. Shuffling through mountains of options and permissions to finally end up with the designations for that specific position and the corresponding new hire.


What’s the Difference Between Knowing and Controlling Positions?

School HR professionals undoubtedly know all the information necessary to build out a position. However, there’s a huge difference between having an expansive list of all the available designations for a position and having a comprehensive position management plan in place to support district-wide operations.

Manually sorting through the pay structure, data and security permissions, and reporting for each individual employee who comes and goes is incredibly time-consuming and error-prone. It’s not nearly as fun as playing a game like MASH during recess, so it’s not something you want to spend hours on. With position control, you can be confident that each position proactively has the appropriate designations, and employees automatically inherit the settings for the positions that they’re hired into.

When you have this level of transparency and control, district-wide processes run more smoothly, and the information that you have access to becomes more reliable.

Want to learn more about implementing a position management and control plan in your school district?

Take a look at the Position Management & Control Playbook.

Nichelle Smith

Nichelle Smith is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Frontline Education. With her Master's degree in Education and being a former educator, Nichelle loves to explore all things "edtech"!

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