Recruiting New Talent in 2023

Posted by Special School District on 1/9/2023 8:00:00 AM

Public education continues to find its way post-pandemic. How we do almost everything has been transformed, including recruiting people for careers in our field. One story after another about how staff shortages are impacting schools nationwide - from not having enough bus drivers to making a move to 4-day school weeks due to not having teachers - districts are struggling to remain fully staffed. 

The ‘great disruption” of 2020, as the pandemic’s impact on the world of work has been called, has resulted in a reckoning in hiring practices in every sector. Recruitment practices and attitudes about how we should do things have been deconstructed as employers recognize barriers to the hiring process. The most recent generation of college grads ranks fulfillment, equity-focused climate, and opportunities to grow in their careers as high as compensation. They look at far more than salaries when considering an employer, making the hiring market extremely competitive. And they expect a fast, customer-service-focused recruitment process. Getting the best talent to commit to your organization now requires flexibility, efficiency, and transparency, which pushes employers forward. Fortunately, SSD has a headstart.

SSD began addressing employee recruitment and retention through the Human Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC) during the 2021-22 school year. SSD staff members representing divisions, departments, and various levels of leadership worked to develop a customer-service-focused model for human resources, resulting in the newly organized Office of Employee Success & Engagement (OESE).

The OESE’s talent requisition and development branch now includes three recruitment and retention manager (RRM) positions and two recruitment and retention clerk (RRC) positions. This five-person team will lead our District’s efforts to attract a diverse pool of talented candidates for each specialized job that makes SSD such a unique place. With over 6,100 employees, we hire an average of 650 new staff members each school year. Bringing our recruitment work into a dedicated team was not just an intelligent recommendation from the HRAC; it was critical. 

The RRMs and RRCs will report to Chief People Officer Phillip Boyd and be supported by Dr. Tonnette Harris, director of equity: HR, who will help ensure DEIA practices are embedded throughout SSD’s recruitment and retention practices. Developing and consistently improving our inclusivity efforts throughout the District is also a key part of our recruitment strategy - meaning it must be visible in our outreach, hiring process, and onboarding. In addition to collaboration between the OESE and DEIA departments, the Communications team is assisting with an audit of the messaging and channels through which we recruit.

We are excited about the potential these changes all hold for the future of SSD. We have so much to offer new employees in terms of our benefits and salaries, and the rewards of seeing our students succeed are immeasurable. The OESE continues to explore additional improvements, benefits, and professional development opportunities for all staff. As we adapt to this new world of employee recruitment, I expect SSD to continue to be a pioneer in the public education space - discovering and implementing practices that clearly demonstrate how working here means being part of something special.