As an adjunct professor in a highly respected MBA program on Long Island, I have had a first-hand view of the changing landscape and intersection of HR in the business world and HR in the classroom. The education community and supporting text book publishers are failing to stay up to date on providing current and future skills and tools for our next generation of HR practitioners.
I will fall short of placing the blame on them, or the researchers and academics who create the content, as the pace of change can occur quicker than normal publishing cycles. However, it’s now time for the HR community to step in and up their game in insuring our next generation is prepared to succeed in our profession.
I have long been an advocate of college internships in our profession. I have personally “graduated” successful HR executives that continue to flourish in their careers at all of my previous organizations. But Internships are just one piece of the puzzle and not every student is able to intern for a variety of reasons. So rather than criticizing the education community, I would offer some quick actions that we can take to help insure our next generation of practitioners can hit the ground running:
First, I believe that HR participation on campus and in the classroom is critical. Most HR and talent executive’s interaction on college campuses is limited to recruiting trips and phones calls to Career Services. We need partnership in the classroom as guest lecturers as well as sponsorship of on-campus HR clubs and organizations.
Second, invite universities to take on research projects related to your organization’s HR needs. This could be especially helpful to small and mid-size businesses that lack internal staff to evaluate business needs and create strategic alternatives to their current direction. I am currently partnering with Geico Insurance on a millennial recruiting study and there are many organizations that would embrace this type of partnership.
A third suggestion is to invite HR classes into your business for breakfast, lunch or even evening “lunch and learns” on your business. A win-win, that creates a future pipeline of recruits, enriches the student experience and provides a sharing opportunity of real world issues and needs.
Finally, I suggest targeting HR and talent third party partners such as benefit providers, software companies, and outsourcing businesses to step up their game and get more involved. There are a few companies already doing this, but there could certainly be more partnerships established.
This is a complex issue and of course it is up to every university professor to bring a variety of sources, tools and simulations to the classroom, however the need for partnership is great.
SHRM has done a very good job of partnering with the college community at a regional and local level, however now is a great time to expand on this and take it into your own hands.
Want to learn more? Feel free to visit the SHRM.org website for a multitude of university program and services.