The COVID pandemic has accelerated a higher education trend expanding academic offerings to include online instruction, giving students the ability to pursue their degrees through a combination of traditional classroom experiences, eLearning programs, virtual seminars, and social learning programs. To develop and update hundreds of online courses that are offered each semester, universities are dependent on a combination of permanent employees and temporary specialists. IT personnel, instructional designers, course content developers, and learning systems administrators come together to build the infrastructure, develop courseware, and administer each course. Online adjunct professors and tutors are frequently engaged to teach specific courses.
Unfortunately, deadlines for course availability are often met by paying “rush charges” to instructional designers and course developers. In the absence of controls, the true costs of creating and administering the online learning system may be unknown, making it virtually impossible to measure the success of this critical approach to teaching.
To create a successful online learning program, a centralized approach to staff procurement, onboarding, management and offboarding is needed. In addition, the university must be able to continuously tap into the same talent base when new courses needed to be developed and instructors needed to be engaged. A better approach is needed to maintain contact with temporary talent after an assignment is completed.
Innovative platforms for managing permanent employees, contract workers, independent consultants and SOW-based project services are now readily available. But technology is only one aspect of the solution. Qualified personnel to provide day-to-day operational assistance are equally important.
- Standard job requirement templates are created that are unique to the needs of the university. Each can be easily customized based on individual job requirements.
- We configure the VMS technology to automatically post and broadcast open positions to career sites, job boards, social media networks, and staffing partners.
- We encourage candidates and internal resources to also submit job referrals.
- Our program specialists provide initial candidate assessments and ranking to minimize the burden on the hiring managers and to expedite the process. We also provide interview scheduling, assessments and dispositions.
- We conduct market assessments of needed resources. When examining instructional design firms, we uncovered rates that were 25-40% higher than market rates.
nextSource also orchestrates and confirms that all onboarding activities have been successfully conducted.
- Onboarding requirements for each position are specified in the job order. Our dedicated team of onboarding specialists monitors completion of each action.
- We maintain a repository for details such as test scores, background and drug testing results, licenses and certifications, training, and onboarding documents.
Time and expense management is provided for contract workers, independent consultants, and SOW-based project teams. Where needed, we ensure that the VMS is fully integrated with the university’s financial accounting systems.
Our SOW Project Management team oversees project budgets and personnel when multiple resources must be sourced and coordinated for an online course development project.
To increase the university’s ability to re-engage prior workers, our Direct Sourcing solution maintains contact with former employees and temporary workers. At the end of an engagement, or when an employee retires, nextSource can enter the individual into the alumni system, creating a vetted talent pool for future openings. We automatically search the alumni database for suitable candidates for each opening while ensuring compliance to tenure gap rules and independent consultant classification requirements.
In addition to daily operational assistance, the nextSource team provides reporting and auditing services needed for insight into resource allocation, sourcing effectiveness, EEO compliance, and cost per hire.
While results vary by client, we find that most experience annual cost reductions of 8 – 12%. Representative client surveys indicate that the average time spent on processing an open position (creation of job description and requirement, job posting, candidate screening, interview scheduling, screening, and onboarding) has reduced by 75%. The cost of developing a new online course can be reduced by as much as 30%, while most clients report that the percentage of courses being completed within budget improved from 60% to 80% in the first year.
To learn more about the solutions delivered to our Higher Education clients, turn to nextSource for expert guidance and visit our solutions page. If you’d like to speak to us further, please reach out to us.