Human Resources

Cluster hiring: Fad or best practice?

Schools reveal how cluster hiring helps strengthen faculty and outcomes

Cluster hiring of faculty is an effective strategy that has been around for at least 15 years. Ask universities that practice it and they’ll tell you it strengthens faculty diversity and promotes new research opportunities. So why aren’t more higher education institutions practicing it?

Will the IRS audit your independent contractors?

Affordable Care Act scrutiny forces schools to tighten tax classifications of employees

Heather DeBlanc says there’s been a lot of buzz lately at conferences among attorneys and insurance consultants about the Affordable Care Act.

Specifically, DeBlanc, an attorney at Liebert Cassidy Whitmore in Los Angeles, says there have been rumors the IRS is increasing the audits it performs at higher education institutions to ensure schools aren’t misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid giving them health care insurance.

Help higher ed employees make ends meet

Increase participation in retirement programs by providing training in day-to-day finance management

What types of people at your school are not saving for retirement? Young employees? Low-income earners? Maybe single parents with children?

Several years ago, Linda Nilsen needed to know. As the executive director of benefits and compensation at Princeton University, she analyzed the non-savers—about half of the school’s 6,000 employees. To her surprise, there were no trends, no themes, no commonalities. These individuals represented all ages, salaries, departments and positions.

New HR technology focuses on compatibility, standardization

HR needs simple navigation, intuitive self-service tools and streamlined workflow processes

While some schools operate aging HR systems that can’t perform key tasks, others are looking ahead to their next technology purchase.

Colleges apply unique diversity strategies

Universities recognize the value of diversity, ranging from expanding staff competencies to improving community relations

Anthony Frank, president of Colorado State University, issued a campuswide challenge in 2012: Make CSU a model school where everyone can work and learn.

An important first step was making the school more accommodating to the needs of women. One strategy was opening a child care center last fall and adding comfortable seating in lactation rooms. Since then, the school has received a $50,000 donation toward the initiative, says Amy Parsons, vice president of operations.

Please—no more lectures or slide presentations

Schools break with tradition to find creative ways to onboard new employees

Each year, the University of Nebraska, Omaha, hires several hundred new administrative or office service workers, says Cecil Hicks, who himself was hired in May as the school’s HR director.

Hidden talents in higher education

HR can take advantage of employees’ skills that are unrelated to their jobs

Consider the accounting clerk who coordinates community events; the help desk manager who moonlights as an exercise coach; or even the campus registrar who is also a freelance writer.

Higher ed HR extends radar by partnering with alumni

Graduates typically possess a wealth of campus knowledge and skills--and are eager to help

In the midst of shrinking budgets and staff, HR professionals at colleges and universities can take advantage of an often overlooked resource to help accomplish their goals.

Consider working with alumni—they typically possess a wealth of campus knowledge and skills. And they’re often eager to assist human resources in many areas, ranging from recruitment to employee coaching.

How human resources can measure program effectiveness

HR professionals should be analyzing metrics to gauge impacts of initiatives

As HR professionals, you track all sorts of activities—such as onboarding and employee turnover. While these types of production metrics are important, HR needs to start measuring the effectiveness of its own programs and activities.

For example, you may know the number of employees who completed a supervisory training course, but that’s just a one-dimensional metric. You need to determine whether the participants became more skilled at managing others to gauge the course’s true impact in the workplace.

What’s new in HR systems and software

Developers focus on products that deliver adaptability and user-friendliness

Integrated. Upgradeable. Simple. Affordable. That’s the message HR professionals at universities and colleges are sending to software developers.

“We don’t want to be locked in to what we’re doing today and not be able to adjust to the world tomorrow,” says David Jones, organizational effectiveness specialist, division of housing and food services at Purdue University. Jones says no one in HR has the time to enter the same information twice or perform the same data search in different programs.

Is anybody listening? Apparently so.

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