by Monika Sziron, Ph.D.
In this episode, Joshua Allen the Vice President for HR at Governors State University (GSU) and Air Force Veteran shares his insights into the recent landscape of hiring in higher education.
Allen starts by acknowledging that when it comes to recruiting talent into higher education, two major factors are undervalued.
First, the benefits in higher education are undervalued, “How many times do you go and apply for a position and they say, ‘Hey, you get one week of vacation and you’re starting off. After 10 years, you get two weeks.'” Whereas in higher education many institutions offer, three weeks to four weeks off, and 12 paid holidays.
Second, the stability of the profession is undervalued. GSU did not lay anybody off during the pandemic and many other institutions were able to do the same and continue to retain positions.
Difficult Roles to Fill
Allen shares that IT positions in higher ed seem to be the most difficult to fill right now. “I think IT positions and any position that you can do from the comfort of your home, is the highest and hardest to fill. And the reason I say that is HR used to compete with a regional and local labor market. We’re competing with a national market now. We can do a job in California in New York. Being from Illinois, we have to adapt to that in our workforce.”
Listen to Employees
Allen stresses that listening to the employees on campus is imperative. Employees at GSU wanted to keep remote work, “We allow our employees to work two days from home, and we do have some fully remote positions even in higher education. And it’s important. It’s helping recruiting, it’s helping retention.”
To get a sense of what employees want and need, in addition to climate surveys, Allen says, “I’ve challenged my department to be a part of university events, putting a face to HR and just being out there because just like we all probably know, when you see somebody out in public or in an event, you’re probably more apt to approach them and say, ‘Hey, I got this problem.'”
Recruiting Veterans as Employees
For institutions trying to reach veterans in their processes, Allen says, “…it really comes down to marketing to vets. And it’s not just about ‘what we can offer you.’ It’s about ‘what have we done for you.'”
“…when I was on social media prior to retiring and coming into the civilian sector, I looked at organizations and what they did for our veterans. […] really get involved with your local veterans organizations, because if you don’t know how to tap into those veterans that are separating from the military, retiring from the military, or even just looking for a job, then we’re not going to have any return on investment with that.”
When you do hire veterans, make it known. Showcase it on your website and social media, “Showcase, hey, we hired 10 vets. Here’s their leadership profiles.”
Tune in to the entire episode to learn more from Allen on hiring in higher education.
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