Facilitating truly seamless talent management

Park Hill School District explains the profound benefits of managing the entire employee life cycle using a single, integrated K-12 solution

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Managing talent at K-12 schools and districts is a time-consuming, documentation-heavy process that demands much from administrative staff … often leaving them frustrated or working overtime just to complete routine, annual processes such as performance evaluations and contract renewals.

Leaders at Park Hill School District (Park Hill) in Missouri learned years ago that successfully managing these processes — and the entire employee life cycle for their 2,000-plus employees — requires efficiency and coordination, which is why they chose PeopleAdmin’s suite of K-12 talent management solutions.

“I like that the solutions can talk to each other,” said Debbie Gorman, human resources analyst at Park Hill. “They all work together.”

Using Recruit & Hire, Records and Perform to manage their applicant tracking, recordkeeping and performance evaluation processes, Debbie and the rest of the Park Hill human resources team replaced several cumbersome, paper-based tasks with more efficient workflows.

shutterstock_546706303Like many U.S. schools and districts, Park Hill’s HR team has managed teacher applications electronically for years. In fact, in 2002 the district piloted the solution that eventually became Recruit & Hire — PeopleAdmin’s automated applicant tracking solution — and have seamlessly managed teacher job postings, applications, interview schedules and job offers ever since.

Until recently, however, administrator applications were still processed manually.

“Before I started using Recruit & Hire for our administrator applications, I would post a job on our web page, but it was essentially an announcement — there wasn’t a way to apply online,” said Judith Perry, human resources administrative assistant at Park Hill. “The directions were to contact me by phone.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this led to overwhelming call volumes.

“I would get upwards of 30 or 40 applicants individually calling me for each administrative position,” Judith said. “Then, I’d have to document on a spreadsheet their name, their phone number, their email address, whether they held a doctorate or not, and more.

“After that, I’d send them an email and attach the application, the job description, and the timeline piece,” Judith said. “They would email me back with the completed application and all the different documents that we needed, which would include a certificate, transcripts, three letters of recommendation … that kind of thing.”

But because applicants weren’t always organized, Judith struggled to manage the process manually.

“Sometimes, the applicants didn’t send all of their required documents at once,” Judith said. “The first email they sent might just have the application. Later, I might get an email with two of their three required letters of recommendation. A couple of days later, I might get another email with the last recommendation. It was up to me to compile all these applications manually, print and paper-clip everything together, then make a copy of the entire packet for my supervisor to screen.”

After all that work just to prepare applications for screening, supervisors then began the time-consuming task of reading each application and filling out rubrics to score each applicant and document who was qualified and why.

With Recruit & Hire, the entire applicant tracking process has been much simpler.

“You can’t imagine the time-savings that online applications have awarded me,” Judith said. “I just post the position, and it stays active within Recruit & Hire for the specified amount of time. The applications and all their attachments come in online, and my supervisor can view them online, as well.”

The solution even allows for a customized screening process and well-defined visibility permissions.

“We have new screening scores that we set up within Recruit & Hire for administrator applicants only,” Judith explained. “I also put in global filters that allow only my supervisor to see these candidates because he doesn’t want anyone else in the district to be able to view them until he’s screened them.”

Recruit & Hire also integrates with Records, allowing Park Hill leaders to easily transfer vital information gathered during the application process into their recordkeeping solution, provided by PeopleAdmin.

“We just hit the Begin Hire button in Recruit & Hire, fill out a little form, and it draws their application right into their online personnel file,” Judith said.

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Before implementing Records — PeopleAdmin’s automated recordkeeping solution — Park Hill’s contract management processes were audibly inefficient.

“My very first year at Park Hill was our last year doing paper contracts, and, during that time, I developed a Pavlov’s dog response to the sound of a rubber stamp,” Judith said. “I would stamp the date that we received the contract, stamp the signature of the board secretary, and stamp the signature of the board president. I did that twice for each of the 850 contracts we had that year.

“I had boxes of contracts by my desk. One box for March 1st, a second box for March 2nd, a third box for March 3rd. I had to put away everything else I was working on and just stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp…”

Managing the printing, sending and receiving of those printed contracts was also a hefty task.

“There’s folding, stacking, and forwarding them,” Judith said. “I had to keep up with who returned them with check-off sheets — physical pieces of paper — and keep the principal and my boss informed of who still needed to return their contracts, because the probationary teachers have to sign their contract within 15 days of receiving it.”

“Just getting them out to the teachers was a huge job,” Debbie added. “You’d have to work weekends or work the whole spring break just to get it done. We even had to hand-deliver the contracts to each building.”

Contract renewals and other recordkeeping processes became so time-consuming and demanded so much overtime that, according to Debbie, “moving to Records was a no-brainer for us.”

“Now, I come into work, I click a button, and all the contracts go out,” Judith said. “Within a day, I would say 50 to 60 percent of them are signed and returned.”

records_mainLike the contract management process, performance evaluations were also a source of frustration before leaders at Park Hill implemented Perform — PeopleAdmin’s automated performance management solution.

“We would collect the goals, and the summative and formative evaluations, and then we’d have to record that on paper,” Debbie said. “There would be 50 stacks of paper. I always lived among stacks of paper until we got Perform.”

Though Park Hill now documents teacher evaluations using a solution designed just for their state by the University of Missouri — administrators and district leaders liked Perform’s customizable e-forms, mobile-friendly functionality, and easy electronic review capabilities so much, they’ve continued using it for non-faculty employee evaluations.

“Collection is 100 percent better. We can easily see who has completed their evaluations and who hasn’t,” Debbie said. “I worked many, many more hours doing that as a manual process. It required tons of extra work.”

Perform also integrates with Records, which gives leaders at Park Hill additional flexibility.

“Records and Perform link together, so, if you’re looking at someone’s contract, you can click over and see their evaluation documents if you need to,” Debbie said. “It’s nice to have all that information available in one place.”

Employing a more effective talent management strategy today, and tomorrow

With the increased efficiencies gained from using Records, Perform, and Recruit & Hire, Park Hill’s human resources team is now able to more effectively manage key stages of the employee life cycle.

“Every system has been user-friendly,” Debbie said. “We’re in a much, much better place now.”

And as Park Hill continues to seek new ways to more efficiently manage talent — whether by enhancing applicant screening using data-based assessments, designing more effective professional development, or ensuring the most qualified substitute teachers are placed in classrooms — PeopleAdmin will continue to deliver the support and services they need to meet their mission: “Through the expertise of a motivated staff … [to] provide a meaningful education in a safe, caring environment to prepare each student for success in life.”