For growing EdTech organizations, maintaining appropriate staffing levels, and adding key skill sets is paramount. With school districts, universities, and colleges making difficult decisions to adopt or increase the use of distance learning technologies to mitigate the risks of COVID-19, EdTech companies have an opportunity to better meet the needs of administrators, teachers, parents, and students.
Of course, hiring the right people is more important than simply hiring people to fill open requisitions. But when companies are in a reactive position rather than a proactive one, it can be difficult to make targeted hiring decisions. Creating and sticking to a strategic hiring strategy that is woven into the fabric of your organization’s larger planning process can help ensure the company stays ahead of the curve and can take advantage of anticipated continued growth in EdTech usage worldwide.
Pulling on 25 years of education talent acquisition experience, the following five organizational growth strategies represent best practices for Education and Technology companies:
Strategy 1: Talent Management Should be an Integral Part of Larger Planning Initiatives
This first point is foundational and not to be missed. A strategic plan is aligned closely to your business goals and should allow for increases and adjustments in FTEs to accommodate growth. Your company’s overall long term success is often dependent on annual business plans that thoughtfully maps out new roles.
For example, suppose a business goal for 2021 or future years is to expand EdTech product sales into a new country or an uncovered region. In that case, the plan should include: sourcing and hiring sales leaders and other talents who can effectively engage schools and other educational institutions or providers in that country or region and the operational staff needed in-house to support that planned growth.
Strategy 2: Involve Key Stakeholders
For your plan to be as successful as possible, it must include all key stakeholders. Triangulate individual department’s requirements with the larger organizational needs by involving current leaders and current employees whose roles would be potentially impacted in some way by planned talent acquisition.
Your current employees can provide valuable insights to help you formulate a plan that offers positive outcomes for everyone involved. If you are considering hiring a new VP of Instructional Design or are expanding your EdTech sales team, ask for input from those who currently support school districts that would be potentially impacted by new or changed roles.
This does not mean your plan must include every suggestion, but soliciting feedback in the planning process can increase effectiveness and improve buy-in from current employees, boosting morale and ensuring alignment.
Strategy 3: Prioritize Business-Critical Roles
Create a hierarchy for which roles are most important and when these positions are needed. Beyond simply time-sensitivity, this step should also include identifying and ranking the top parameters for each role.
Without taking the time for this due diligence and prioritization, an EdTech company in fast-paced growth mode may rush to fill front-line sales roles but neglect critical behind-the-scenes functions needed to support administrator and educator service. This could lead to dissatisfied clients and attrition over time and would be avoided with a staged hiring plan.
Strategy 4: Determine and Document Key Details for Positions
Effective strategic plans for EdTech companies’ hiring initiatives are comprehensive, including details for each current and anticipated role in the organization. Details that should be documented include reporting structures, job descriptions, compensation parameters, key performance indicators, training necessary, technology required, and other unique factors.
When EdTech firms are thoughtful about designing roles and onboarding requirements, they reduce the risk that they will simply cobble together a job description and haphazardly throw a new hire into the organization. Ultimately, this sets both the company and its personnel up for success through improved performance and retention.
Strategy 5: Maintain Your Plan
Your company’s multi-year hiring plan should not be something that is created and then filed away, never to be looked at again. The most effective EdTech talent acquisition strategies are ongoing programs, modified and adapted to changing circumstances as needed. As the needs of school districts and other academic institutions in your company’s footprint evolve, your plan should be adjusted, so it stays on track to meet the organization’s overarching goals.
On an annual or more frequent basis, review your strategic hiring plan, and consider the capacity allocated to sourcing candidates, including internal specialists and expert external executive search resources.
Hiring Strategy in Action: Supporting Organizational Long-Term Growth
EdTech providers often struggle with formulating hiring strategies and making talent acquisition part of the larger organizational planning process. This is particularly true when facing pressure to meet increasing demand; this is the case in 2020/2021 when school districts and institutions seek more ways to implement or improve distance learning initiatives.
In 2019, The Renaissance Network (TRN) began working with a well-known K-12 research, training, and advocacy organization. When the client initially reached out, it was to leverage TRN’s reputation for excellence in Education recruiting to help source one role: an experienced sales manager. A key element of TRN’s process involves an in-depth discovery session. During that process, it became clear that there was an opportunity to help shape the organization’s hiring strategy to support long-term growth initiatives.
The result was a comprehensive execution plan that included prioritizing timings, role requirements, position marketing strategy, and more. Using this approach, the organization added a VP of Sales, followed by a planned sequence, including a VP of Instructional Design, two Instructional Designers, and an Education Marketer. Currently, TRN is helping this client fill a PR role, which will be followed by a Demand Generation position. Instead of taking a reactive approach to filling positions, this client is now proactively managing its human capital. As a result, they are better prepared to meet and achieve their future growth goals.
To learn more about the benefits of taking a strategic planning approach to talent acquisition, contact TRN today!