Navigator Blog

Why Now Is The Time To Think About Human Capital for Education Systems Differently

March 16, 2022

by Emma Kapp

A thriving people system is well-equipped to serve and support all students. People are the most important part of a school system, and when district leaders empower all adults in the system, all students will benefit.  

Every adult in the system is integral in creating an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in our rapidly changing and complex world. That experience must include both academic content and 21st century, deeper learning experiences that empower students to be lifelong learners and contributors today and tomorrow. Because school systems put so much of their financial resources into people – on average, more than 80% – it’s essential that their people can deliver on a vision to transform the system and provide deeper learning experiences.

It’s also crucial to rethink human capital management systems now to meet the challenges of the current landscape. A recent Brookings article cited U.S. Department of Education statistics revealing all 50 states reported having educator shortages in at least one subject area. A new approach to attracting candidates and retaining educators is needed so all students can access deeper learning.  

School system leaders need a 21st century approach to human capital management to support adults as they shift their roles and create meaningful deeper learning experiences for their students. 

A 21st century human capital strategy aligns your people system to your organization’s vision for 21st century, deeper learning—a Portrait of a Graduate.

While every school system is unique, there are four core areas that a comprehensive human capital management system should address:

ALIGN your human capital system to the vision

Locally developed workforce competencies are key to empowering staff and making a system’s deeper learning vision– the Portrait of a Graduate–a reality for students. Embedding those competencies throughout a comprehensive human capital system that is well-monitored by data to drive continuous improvement helps organizations become employers of choice for high-performing staff and districts of choice for parents and students. 

FIND the best talent

The quality of a system’s recruitment and hiring practices drives its ability to bring top talent into the organization. A people system that consistently finds, attracts, and hires the best candidates includes data-driven processes to: 

  • Identify staffing needs, 
  • Uncover the sources of high-performing employees, 
  • Identify strengths and values to communicate your employment brand, and 
  • Select the best person for the job. 

A great hire is one of the best investments a system can make. With a clear brand supported by key messaging, systems can tell their stories and attract applicants who will contribute to achieving the organizational vision.”

—Tony Bagshaw, Chief Improvement Officer, Battelle for Kids

GROW people with professional learning aligned to the vision

A comprehensive human capital management system helps all employees—from the newest to the most experienced—grow. This includes processes for supporting new staff, assessing employee performance, and using data to provide ongoing feedback, customized support, and growth opportunities. An effective human capital system balances employees’ specific professional learning needs with those of the organization to ensure efforts align with strategic priorities. The goal should be to help all employees reach their full potential. 

KEEP engaged, high-performing employees

A system culture that values stakeholder voices, maintains transparency, and fosters collaboration is key to any high-performing people system. Organizations should seek continuous feedback from staff to identify opportunities for improving the culture and develop practices that foster employee engagement and wellbeing. They should also establish meaningful systems for recognizing and rewarding excellence to help retain high-performing employees.

The processes within the system that promote an inclusive and equitable environment help support a diverse workforce. Recognizing that staff members are people first and employees second also fosters a healthy workplace where they want to return.”

—Alyson Nielson, Vice President, Battelle for Kids

Learn how Battelle for Kids can help you reimagine your human capital system to support 21st century, deeper learning by contacting us.