Higher Education: Learning to Love Workforce Management Solutions – PT 1


A broad and growing array of services and tech solutions for managing contingent is being embraced and adopted by industries of every kind. Historically, in the higher education vertical, the need for such solutions hasn’t been pressing until recently. Growing interest is due to developments which make non-employee workforce elements more necessary and attractive to colleges and universities. This two-part blog will explore the emerging challenges behind the increased interest in workforce management solutions among higher education institutions, how to sort through the array of solution options, and the type of results driven by their successful implementation.

Higher education organizations face significant challenges to maintaining cost-effective operation of their respective institutions. According to Gallup research from the 2018 Survey of Community College Presidents, a whopping 98 percent of college presidents polled characterize financial challenges as either a major or moderate challenge. Cost-effective human capital management is a significant factor aggravating these challenges, and solutions must necessarily address the labor/workforce management elements of the problem if there is to be any resolution. Moreover, 94 percent of respondents identified personnel management and staffing as either a big or moderate challenge, with many pointing to a deficit of female and minority candidates inhabiting key job roles.


Higher education institutions are facing increasing pressure to reduce labor costs while at the same time, experiencing a significant increase in the demand for online curriculum. Not only do these programs require hard-to-fill contract (contingent) roles for the IT resources to build out and administer online systems, but they also rely heavily on adjunct professors to moderate classes. As schools act quickly to fill these roles, there are increased regulatory and tax-related risks, exposing schools to costly penalties if not properly addressed. All of this is driving a significant increase in costs as schools field this emerging sector of their overall workforce using contingent labor.

The good news is, higher education institutions have an array of options available to address costs, risks and work associated with engaging contingent labor. These solutions focus on workforce management practices and processes, proven to exert a positive effect on the financial health of today’s colleges, universities and trade schools.

Employer or Record Services (EOR) | Adjunct faculty job roles are prime candidates for filling with contingent workers because most colleges and universities do not operate all 12 months of the year. Moreover, because the terms are often split into two annual sessions, adjunct faculty is frequently hired for a term or for the full school year and then released during the summer break. As a result, there is a degree of complexity involved in sourcing, hiring, on-boarding and then off-boarding of these adjunct resources. This process happens repetitively and creates a good deal of work for hiring managers, accounts payable departments and benefits administrators.

Outsourcing this work to an EOR is a better way of managing contingent labor and has the added benefit of reducing schools’ exposure to risks derived from compliance with tax laws, worker classification issues and other labor regulations. Despite best efforts, it is costly for schools to achieve and maintain compliance. EOR services protect higher education organizations from risks by effectively handling workers’ compensation claims, on and off-boarding employees, performing background checks and worker classification checks.

EOR solutions provide organizations with the ability to create on-demand reporting and can house historical data used for managing hours; providing increased labor spend management and control.

Part 2 of this post examines several other solutions embraced by higher education organizations including Managed Service Providers (MSP) and best practice-driven workforce planning and management strategies. Part 2 will also reveal the results higher education customers are driving via intelligent deployment of any or all these solution options.

To read more on this subject, please visit our employer of record services page.

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