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Case Study

How Queen Creek Unified School District Uses Data Analytics to Improve Hiring Practices and Respond to Rapid Growth

Keegan Bassett, Director of Human Resources, says that Frontline’s Human Capital Analytics is helping his team better allocate resources to hire more efficiently.

Queen Creek Unified School District Hero Image

District Background

Queen Creek Unified School District is growing. Fast. “Over the past six years our enrollment has doubled, going from a little over 6,500 students to approximately 14,000 students,” says Keegan Bassett, Director of Human Resources, “and we are projected to increase by another 3,000 students within the next five years.”

The district has opened seven new schools over the last six years, and it keeps Keegan — who is responsible for leading the recruiting and hiring of all the new staff that such growth requires — hopping. “When you talk about that growth and what it means for Human Resources, allocating resources to try to keep up with the pace of all the new hires and then, when they are employees, being able to take care of them, it is a very competitive market across the board. So even though we’re growing rapidly student-wise, teachers are still in high demand at all our neighboring districts as well.”

The Need to Hire Quickly

To bring teachers and support staff into the district, Queen Creek needs to provide excellent customer service — and hire quickly. Candidates will quickly look elsewhere if the hiring process drags on. “What systems and procedures are we implementing with fidelity within our own onboarding team to make sure that we’re providing the absolute best customer service to future employees and securing them in a timely manner?” Keegan asks. “Because in today’s world, if somebody isn’t locked in and getting a position with a contract, they’re still looking at other schools and districts.”

“Sometimes people will talk to me about how it takes them 30 days to hire somebody. By day three, that person’s looking for another job.”

Keegan Bassett
– Director of Human Resources

It’s critical to rapidly move candidates through the hiring pipeline. Keegan encourages hiring managers to set specific deadlines throughout the screening and interview process, reference checks, and recommendation to hire. “We’re not trying to make a rushed hire, but at the same time, we have identified that if you move too slow, you don’t stand a chance to capture the best talent that’s out there.”

Keegan and the Human Resources team hold themselves to the same high standards when the time comes to send contracts. “If the schools can get us the name of the person that they’re interested in, we’re going to try to assure them we will get this completed within three days so that it doesn’t drag out and there’s peace of mind and a signed contract in place for the employee.”

Tracking the Hiring Process

Queen Creek uses Frontline Recruiting & Hiring to ensure hiring goes smoothly. Keegan and his team keep a close eye on the data to see how things are going, where applicants are coming from, which recruiting efforts yield the best results, and which schools are seeing the most success. In the past, that meant manually compiling data in spreadsheets. Sometimes the answers they were looking for were simply inaccessible.

Human Capital Analytics

But Queen Creek recently began using Frontline’s Human Capital Analytics, a platform that makes it easy for districts to analyze their own data from Frontline’s human capital management solutions: Recruiting & Hiring, Absence & Time, and Professional Growth. Since he oversees staffing, Keegan’s use of the system focuses on Recruiting & Hiring data.

Recruitment and Referral Analysis

With Human Capital Analytics, Keegan can see where candidates are coming from and how efficiently each recruiting platform performs, and then decide where to optimize hiring efforts. He can also keep an eye on whether the district is on pace year over year to fill job openings, look at staffing trends to see where shortages lie, and examine whether job postings for certain positions are generating an equivalent number of applicants as in prior years.

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“The Recruitment and Referral Analysis dashboard has been instrumental for tracking where our candidates are hearing about us. What is the percentage of capture rate for the candidates pending which referral source they come from? And then allowing us to allocate our resources: if we pinpoint that there’s a certain platform that is yielding the highest results, then we can look at how we can leverage that to increase and see if there are wasted resources on other platforms that aren’t yielding the results that we would anticipate. Let’s figure out what we can do, action plan-wise, to reallocate those.”

Putting resources behind the most effective recruiting channels has obvious benefits. “Doubling your pool of applicants probably ends up yielding a more desirable candidate. We’ve been trying to look at those angles and analyze some of the data regarding the applicant pool to find trends as well.”

“The Recruitment and Referral Analysis dashboard has been instrumental for tracking where our candidates are hearing about us.”

Keegan Bassett
– Director of Human Resources

Speed to Hire

Keegan also uses Human Capital Analytics to track how quickly his HR team is moving candidates through the hiring pipeline by tracking how long applicants sit at each stage. He can see where candidates are getting hung up in the hiring process and which team members are responsible, then see what might be needed to speed the process along. This helps him ensure that they don’t lose great candidates to other districts.

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Clear Visibility into the District’s Own Data

Instant access to Queen Creek’s own recruiting and hiring data gives Keegan a more zeroed-in picture than he had before. “National coverage is always on special education or math or science. You automatically assume, ‘That must be the trend for my district,’” he says. But now, he can see whether Queen Creek follows the national trend or not. “If an elementary music teaching position very rarely gets filled within the first two weeks, I have the data to prove it.”

In the past, Keegan had to rely on rough estimates. “If the job board looked like there were a whole lot of postings open, you figured you weren’t doing too well. And then if it felt like it slowed down, ‘Hey, maybe we’re doing all right.’” Now, he has a much sharper picture of how things are going. “I’m able to pull the data for how many bus driver job postings we had in September verses May. We’re at the point where we’re able to analyze, a bus driver posting used to be open for months on end and now as soon as we have a vacancy, because of the recruitment initiatives we’ve put in place, that job is only posted for maybe a week and we’re already going to have somebody fill that.”

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Quick Data Enables Quick Action

Keegan often gets asked how many job vacancies the district has in total, or how many applicants typically apply for science teacher positions, for example. “I’m able to pull that data instantaneously now. In the past, I needed half a day to a full day to develop a spreadsheet and input each piece after grabbing it from Recruiting & Hiring.”

Keegan highlighted the ability to filter by field or school, or even compare two elementary schools, for example. “That one’s huge. What’s their number of postings? What’s their average applicant pool per posting? What’s the average fill rate in time for that? That is the stuff that I’m able to grab immediately, versus having to go through myself, which is quite the strenuous, tedious, time-consuming process. Now it’s a couple of quick filters on the dashboard.”

Easy Access to Customized Dashboards

If there are specific data views that Keegan uses frequently, he can use bookmarks to save customized filter configurations on a dashboard, then access that view again with a simple click. The ability to create custom bookmarks of any guided analysis “has been a huge benefit for users, because I no longer have to dig through and preset filters. I already have a number of different visuals ready to go.”

Learning from Successes

The data in Human Capital Analytics lets Keegan and the HR team identify what recruiting efforts are successful, then replicate that success throughout the district.

“If we have identified certain schools or departments are performing at a level that’s desirable, we share out what’s working with others, so then they can basically copycat that and try to recreate those same results.”

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When a school generates a higher number of applicants for positions, he has conversations with the administrators to find out what they’re doing. “If Eastmark High averages twenty applicants per instructional assistant position and Queen Creek High is only averaging seven, I’m going to ask Eastmark, ‘Is there anything you are doing to promote your position internally?’ If Eastmark shares with us, ‘We share out on our own school social media platforms. We put it in our school newsletter. We ask that our current staff promote it on their social platforms,’ we’re then enabled to share those strategies out with colleagues, and not just, ‘Hey, give this a try.’ We have data to back it up. Here’s how we know it’s going to work and be effective.”

“If we have identified certain schools or departments are performing at a level that’s desirable, we share out what’s working with others, so then they can basically copycat that and try to recreate those same results.”

Keegan Bassett
– Director of Human Resources

Reporting to Leadership

Each week, Keegan reports to district leadership, and Human Capital Analytics lets him easily present key performance indicators and track progress over time. “All of my KPIs center on data and how many people within different recruitment sources are we hiring? What is our percent vacancy rate for classified staff versus certified staff month over month? Are we staying steady, if not improving? Having that data to show what’s working and what isn’t triggers you to then make new action plans and decisions.”

The visuals in Human Capital Analytics are useful in creating leadership reports. “It’s nice to be able to quickly grab and drop in a graphic every once in a while, that’s quick, easy to understand, and further paints the picture of what our current realities are within each platform.”

Looking to the Future

The Human Resources Department is exploring how Human Capital Analytics will give them insights into teacher absences, professional development, and other areas using data from their other Frontline solutions. But Keegan will continue to dive into recruiting data, and soon he’ll begin looking at DE&I data in his hiring.

He’s also training hiring managers in Queen Creek’s schools to make sure they update where candidates are in the hiring process, so the data they have to work with is accurate. “Things we’ve done that improve our process would be training the schools and departments on those pipeline stages and really exemplifying the importance of those so that we can have data that then drives future decisions.”

In doing so, he’s better preparing his team and his district to meet the challenges of the rapid growth Queen Creek will experience in the coming years.

“Human Capital Analytics allows you to access an extraordinary amount of data in a very quick, easy-to-understand platform. You’re able to zero in on different focus areas that you’re interested in within a couple of clicks, and that’s not something you typically can find within various data platforms.”

Keegan Bassett
– Director of Human Resources