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Why Education Needs Human Capital Management

Twenty-twenty challenged the education community in unique ways. As the country emerges from the pandemic and we look forward to the 2021-22 year, schools will be facing new and different hurdles.

Remote schooling challenged many kids, but new research from McKinsey & Company suggests at-risk student populations are most impacted. Some students fell off the radar entirely, and many in special education experienced gaps in services. Across the country, rates of anxiety and depression in students have been rising. In the midst of all of this, there continues to be a teacher shortage.

How can schools address these challenges? One answer is simple, but not easy: ensure that teachers receive the resources and support they need to be effective. Teachers have an enormous impact on student achievement, more than perhaps any other factor, according to a report from the RAND Corporation. Yet it’s often difficult for districts to hire, engage, and retain high-quality teachers and staff.

Teacher shortage

Hiring and retaining qualified teachers is getting harder. U.S. Department of Education data shows that fewer teachers are entering the profession each year, so districts end up competing with one another for talent. 

In a 2021 Frontline Education survey of nearly 1,200 educators and administrators, 67 percent said they have difficulty staffing vacancies with qualified educators. This is especially true in cities. The top reasons given include a lack of qualified applicants, salary and benefits compared to other careers, fewer education graduates, difficulty retaining teachers, and competition with other districts. Over two-thirds of survey respondents believe the teacher shortage will worsen in years to come.

Holistic management

Managing limited resources and making informed decisions around talent are more important than ever. In the past, school district department offices, including human resources, business, and professional development, may have worked separately, focusing on different aspects of the employee journey. 

In the future, the most successful districts will use holistic human capital management (HCM) strategies to proactively recruit, hire, and onboard great teachers, offer professional learning to support growth, find qualified substitutes when teachers are absent, manage compensation packages, and increase retention.

What does effective HCM look like in practice? In our increasingly digital world, putting connected software systems in place is a vital step, making it possible to work effectively across departments with a focus on the whole employee. A connected HCM system makes it easier to mitigate risk and stay compliant with state and local regulations, and makes data accessible, enabling more informed decision-making. 

Ultimately, innovative HCM systems let administrators and district leaders spend more time supporting the teachers and staff who have such a significant impact on the lives of individual students.

This article has been paid for by Frontline Education.

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