Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hiring Practices

Many colleges and universities do not think long-term when hiring an employee. They lack a strategic plan or educational master plan that identifies what programs will grow or may have peaked in popularity and demand.

A tenure track faculty position is typically a 20-year commitment that can cost an institution between $1 million and $3 million. Therefore, the decision to make a position tenured should be tied to a 20-year vision of the need for such expertise. Moreover, because of the tendency to avoid terminating employees, other staff members become permanent fixtures – whether they are assets or obstructionists.

Finally, once a decision is made to fill a position, significant improvements can also occur in streamlining the hiring processes.

Do not automatically refill vacant or vacated positions

Delay, for a limited time, replacement of full-time faculty who retire or leave

Hire more staff who are technically qualified and who are able to handle more functions

Administratively control all full-time faculty hiring

Buy back early retirees on a part-time basis to teach large classes

Develop online candidate or applicant tracking system

Develop cost-effective methods to process personnel requests

Furnish substitute teachers for illness or death only

Hire managers with greater experience in their area of responsibility

Reduce overtime by hiring part-time or short-term help to cover vacant full-time, classified positions

Improve the manager training process for the hiring of classified employees

Standardize the training process for search and selection committees

Restrict employees from returning as “consultants” at higher pay

Survey and audit all job descriptions; develop generic job classifications

Use more part-time teachers

Use more volunteer teachers

Use students as graders and clerks

Establish more work-study programs for students in lieu of permanent employees, wherever part-time work is a viable option

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
- Publilius Syrus

KH Consulting Group (KH) started this Know-How site in 2009 to create a forum for sharing ideas on effectively enhancing revenues and containing costs in higher education in the near and longer term.

KH has posted more than 500 ideas. You can join the forum at:

Note: The ideas shared are not prescriptive and will not work in all situations or at all institutions. Some of the ideas are tactical – quick victories to save money in easy ways. Others are strategic, requiring careful analysis before implementing.

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