Engaging a Community through the Higher Education Workforce

Engaging_Higher_Education_Workforce_11_18_15.jpgMore so than most industries, Higher Education can leverage its brand within the communities it serves to establish a positive feedback loop. The key to success for many higher education organizations lies in community engagement, and workforce planning is a great vehicle for driving that engagement. Learn how to establish the positive feedback loop via the contingent workforce and set your school up for success.

The positive feedback loop begins with initiatives for attracting an effective workforce (contingent and full time) from within a school’s surrounding communities and fostering an affirmative, positive workplace experience.  Doing so helps a school perpetuate a positive reputation, which can, in turn, help improve new student recruitment from the same community. The increase in new students supports the creation of more employment opportunity and the loop increases. So how does one begin the process?

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPAHR) produced a white paper several years ago on the subject of facilitating engagement strategies for candidates in positions within institutions of higher education. Stephen Hundley and Daniel Griffith, the paper’s authors, reached the following conclusion. “Cultivating engagement – not merely retention — requires an ongoing commitment by senior leaders, HR professionals, managers/supervisors and even individual contributor employees. HR, of course, serves as the intersection point where leadership and engagement converge.”

In a Market Trends Report published by nextSource, subject matter experts examined methods for leveraging an educational institution’s reputation via recruitment efforts.  The SMEs found that schools – particularly those with strong brand identities – were better able to capitalize on their reputation when seeking to source top quality talent on a contingent basis from within their local communities. Particularly, in the localities where the institutions reside, increased levels of community relations were found to yield improvements in recruitment. Schools pursuing this strategy reported greater levels of success hiring from within their local communities.

This helps institutions of higher education demonstrate commitment to the communities in which they operate. Those that operate in ethnically diverse locations are often able to meet diversity requirements by hiring from their local populations. In some cases, these expectations are included in Service Level Agreements with KPIs and other measurable incentives designed to promote local hiring, tracking local zip codes to verify local hiring levels.

While this type of strategy can also be useful and effective in other industries, the nature of higher educational institutions makes them particularly well suited to community engagement through workforce management. Many schools serve as community centers in the areas where they’re situated. This makes them a natural focal point for community engagement strategies. Get started building your higher ed workforce feedback loop today with help from your nextSource representative!

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