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HR Trends Impacting School Districts

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The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) recently released a report Future Insights: The Top Trends for 2014 According to SHRM's HR Subject Matter Expert Panels, offering insights into the latest HR trends according to panels of senior HR practitioners, consultants, academics, and policy experts.Some of the broader trends include:

  • The need for skilled and educated workers is growing around the world, impacting everything from benefits strategies to employer branding to immigration policies.
  • Developments in information and communication technologies continue to influence HR practices. In particular, social media has become especially important as it relates to recruiting.
  • Demographic changes are reshaping many aspects of employment and HR practices. Across the world workforces are aging, while becoming more diverse as the large Millennial generation is beginning to make its mark on the workplace. 
  • As the workforce ages, more employees will be dealing with multiple caring responsibilities and, in some cases, multiple paid jobs, emphasizing the need and growing demand for flexible and effective work/life strategies.
  • A growing emphasis on measurement to demonstrate the return on investment of key HR expenditures.

While the trends in SHRM's report are positioned in a business context, I believe many of these issues will also have a significant impact on HR practices in school districts across the country. I have chosen to highlight three of these trends below and offer several questions for K-12 talent managers to consider around each topic.

1. "Social media is still a growing concern in recruiting efforts relative to the biases associated with candidate's profiles. A large number companies don't have a social media policy and they are still grappling with how to balance social media with their expanding employer brand, appeal to Generation Y, and maintain transparency and company confidentiality."

Questions for talent managers:

  • Do teachers, leaders, and/or your district utilize social media?
  • Does your organization have a social media policy? If so, was it reviewed by your district's general counsel?
  • How do you communicate social media policy with staff, as well as students, parents, and the community?
  • Are you reviewing social media accounts of new applicants? Have you discussed that practice with your district's general counsel?

2. "Expansion of Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) continues to add complexity to accommodation issues."

Questions for talent managers:

  • Do you know and understand ADAAA? What about how this affects Family Medical Leave?
  • Do you have a process for how to handle accommodation requests? If yes, was it reviewed by your district's general counsel? Are leaders trained to understand how to handle requests for accommodations, leave, etc.?
  • How and what do you communicate with your staff on the topic?

3. "With more Traditionalists and Baby Boomers staying in the workforce longer than anticipated, companies are faced with issues associated with an aging workforce: phased retirement, knowledge management (capture and transfer), disabilities, increased medical costs, and engagement."

Questions for talent managers:

  • Are you collecting data on your workforce needs and changes?
  • Do you have a process for planning, recruiting, and replacing retiring workers?
  • Are you reviewing your health insurance program and sharing changes early and openly with staff when it comes to updates in the law, costs, taxes, etc.?
  • Have you had any conversations on succession planning for specific positions in your district?

I suggest that K-12 talent managers read the full SHRM report and consider how all these HR trends could impact the present and future of your district's human capital management system. Please share these challenges, opportunities, and strategies for success in the comments section below!

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The opinions expressed in K-12 Talent Manager are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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