Next-Gen Workforce Management For Higher Education

Rob Jonkers

Next-generation (next-gen) workforce management for #highered is a comprehensive way to include all activities that support a productive and successful university system. As with most industries, but especially with universities, people (and their minds) are at the core of success. The faculty and staff are responsible for driving critical academic and research success, and thereby the success of the institution.

The aim of modern workforce management is to deliver strategic insight about the strengths of the system and human capital. Next-gen workforce management addresses an important university business requirement by aligning the institution’s strategic business goals with human resources actions and activities. With these advanced insights, universities can pinpoint areas for change and positively manage the workforce and the strategic direction.

Universities must be able to track and recover workforce information and provide the right progressive and intelligent (#predictive, #machinelearning) analysis to support strategic initiatives. They must also be able to react constantly to the changing market as well as industry and regulatory trends. Universities that don’t keep up with changes that relate to the workforce environment face risks such as devaluated reputation, declining research publications, and even decreasing student enrollment.

For these reasons, the HR department is critical to the university’s overall success. Higher ed HR professionals grapple with myriad, interrelated questions. For example, how can HR teams be most beneficial to the larger institution’s success? Can they strategically impact economic management while also competing for academic talent? How should they structure faculty and staff to guarantee student success? Is the academic staff capable, and are the right talent management tools in place?

With the resource constraints facing universities, it’s not simple to generate an environment where faculty and students both excel. The challenge for HR leaders in higher education is how to efficiently structure and manage the workforce, i.e., how to balance academic employees with enrolled students to encourage a successful partnership for respective learning and growing.

As within any people-centric industry, it is no surprise that a higher education institution is only as good as its workforce. Therefore, a future-focused, talent-focused, people-centric HR team is crucial and mandatory for achieving institution success. Today’s universities face the same challenges as corporations: talent acquisition and employee engagement and retention.

Recent economic realities and trends have made higher education HR departments more important than ever to the university system’s progress. They are charged with improving and applying organizational efficiency throughout the workforce, from teaching staff to part-time student workers. To truly transform the university’s workforce, HR departments must focus on the institution’s overall strategic efforts, provide insights into work process and efficiencies, and minimize transactional HR activities. State-of-the-art HR software supports these goals.

Modern HR software and advanced analytical insights enable next-gen HR departments to achieve targeted academic staff recruitment while seamlessly assessing and developing existing talent. Ultimately, next-gen HR will ensure a robust human capital talent pool backed by effective measurements to grow and retain talent, which will drive a continual rise in university success.

SAP SuccessFactors provides the most complete and modern HCM suite in the market. It can help HR teams streamline university HR processes, drive recruitment and retention strategies, and optimize campus staffing in order to achieve a true Next-Gen Workforce.


Rob Jonkers

About Rob Jonkers

Rob Jonkers is a solution director for Higher Education & Research (HER) at SAP. He is responsible for enabling and driving the HER cloud solution portfolio.