February 2018, Vol. 2

4 keys to a smooth transition into K-12 HR

by Luz Cadena

Whether you’ve transitioned into K-12 human resources from an HR background or from within education, the following tips will help you succeed in your new role.   

1. Enhance your knowledge

As a new leader in a school district HR department, you’ll want to assess the effectiveness of practices and programs and determine whether they improve or impede HR functions. Increasing your knowledge of HR will help you make informed decisions, identify inefficiencies, and guide department functions more strategically in support of your district’s goals.   

A premier training program designed specifically for new school HR administrators is the Texas School HR Administrators Academy scheduled for October 29 and 30. Topics covered include contracts and legal issues, certification, compensation, leaves, personnel records, and more.

Mark your calendars for other HR training programs listed on the TASB HR Services website and on the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA) website.

If your district is not a member of TASB HR Services, make sure to sign up. Members receive access to an online library of reference information, model forms, handbooks, job descriptions, and survey data via DataCentral. DataCentral provides access to survey data and the ability to create custom benchmarking reports on pay, benefits, policies, and practices. Other membership benefits include specialized training, consulting, and support services.

2. Expand your professional network and social media groups

Networking offers opportunities for making new connections with other HR professionals to build your knowledge base by sharing resources and best practices.  

Join professional associations, such as TASPA, whose membership base consists of Texas public school human resources administrators and support staff. They assist HR administrators by providing tools and strategies to support district HR functions. They also can provide information about other local, state, and regional networking opportunities.

Consider joining other professional HR associations like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

3. Become familiar with all relevant policies and laws

Study the “D-Personnel” section of your district’s personnel policies and refer to it often. Knowing and enforcing your local personnel policies is an important part of your new role.

Bookmark helpful online resources for quick reference, such as:

4. Leverage technology

The role and importance of technology in human resources has increased greatly. HR technologies like a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) aid in the management of information needed for effective decision-making and increased efficiency. Workflow technology applications help streamline time-consuming and repetitive processes. Dashboards help HR leaders turn HR information into meaningful and sophisticated analytic tools. Used effectively, technology systems contribute to improved efficiencies, help you be better informed, and turn data into metrics so you can communicate the value of HR more accurately.    

Given the payroll costs, including the fact compensation and benefits account for the largest portion (80 percent) of a school district’s operating budget, your role of HR as a strategic partner is essential to achieving your district’s strategy and goals. These resources serve as a foundation and will help you succeed in your new role.