‘By taking a real, analytical look at our data, we could tell we really needed to work on our ability to retain diverse employees’
Many colleges and universities struggle to achieve their equal employment opportunity (EEO) goals — such as hiring more diverse applicants and veterans — but some have recently discovered that the key to success lies in the data they’re already collecting.
“The veteran employment goal for state agencies in Texas is 20 percent, which is a constant challenge because the information is self-reported,” said Lyndi Wittekiend, faculty employment manager at Texas State University in San Marcos. “For those who do identify as veterans, it’s much easier for us to monitor and improve that figure now that we’re using an applicant tracking solution.”
But uncovering data is just the first step — Lyndi and other higher education talent management professionals are using data and analytics from PeopleAdmin’s electronic talent management solutions to identify areas for improvement.
“We used data in our applicant tracking system to see where diversity was breaking down, and we actually found that we were losing minority employees faster than we could hire them,” said Demetrius Bynes, director of employment services at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. “By taking a real, analytical look at our data, we could tell we really needed to work on our ability to retain diverse employees.”
For Lyndi, some of the most helpful metrics came from much earlier in the employee life cycle.
“The more data we can collect and analyze, the better we can see the geographic areas from which faculty apply,” she said. “This shows what advertisements are effective. All of this helps us make informed, data-driven decisions, including where to direct our postings, advertising, and other recruiting efforts.”
But with powerful analytics solutions designed for higher education, faculty affairs and HR teams don’t need additional manpower to glean key insights.
“A powerful data and analytics tool allows you real-time access to key performance information so you can ultimately identify where breakdowns are occurring,” said Edward Wilson Jr., Ph.D., former director of academic affairs and HR director at the University of Kansas Medical Center. “Your data tell a story, analytics solutions should help you understand it.”
Shannon Phillips, assistant director of technology and compensation specialist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, is currently using Analytics — a PeopleAdmin solution designed to translate data into actionable trends — to help university stakeholders understand the story their data tell, and identify breakdowns that negatively impact diversity hiring.
“It’s part of our affirmative action plan,” Shannon explained. “We’re really looking at that application flow for minority groups. How are they moving through the process? What type of diverse recruitment are we utilizing? How can we improve that to increase the applicant pool for those candidates?”
After identifying those breakdowns, Edward said, the next step toward improvement is gaining buy-in from leadership by using the uncovered data “to support your claims and point out the fact that, for example, from one stage to the next, a lot of people of underrepresented backgrounds fell out of the pool for whatever reason.”
According to Shannon, Analytics simplifies that process and delivers specific information for different departments.
“On the home dashboard, you’re able to see that population of diverse candidates within your applicant pool. So, what we’re doing is taking that and drilling it down into a college basis, and then we’re sharing that information with our leadership,” she said. “The Analytics tool is great because it gives you all that data right there at a snapshot.”