Three Places to Evaluate Your School’s HR Practices
Vol. 16 No. 10
Human resources practices that aren’t compliant with the law can be a source of risk for many private-independent schools. When it comes to managing new hires and current employees, these risks are often related to different forms of discrimination.
This can include more common types of discrimination, such as gender, age, ethnicity, and disability. But it can also encompass downfalls during the hiring, onboarding, and evaluation processes, such as failure to hire, lack of appropriate training, and wrongful termination.
Many times there is no malice involved when administrators make HR mistakes. But human error or lack of knowledge can get you into trouble. So it’s important to fully understand every law and provision when it comes to human resources.
Start by hiring a qualified human resources team member or consider outsourcing this function. This person should be knowledgeable about the following federal laws:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
He or she should evaluate your school’s HR practices in three key areas when it comes to managing your faculty and staff.
Your HR manager must ensure that anyone involved in the hiring process knows and follows all federal and state laws. Those involved in the interview process must be well-trained in what can and cannot be asked during an interview. They should also know how to evaluate candidates based on their qualifications to perform the job at hand rather than assessing other less objective measures.
To help create this distinction, every job description should address not only the technical requirements of the position, but also those characteristics and attributes necessary to perform it effectively.
A well-crafted job description helps inform the interview and hiring process, supports making a better hiring decision, and provides a defensible position for selecting or not selecting an individual.
Once the team selects the right candidate, that person must go through the proper onboarding process. The HR manager must give him or her your school’s employee handbook, including your acceptable use policy, values, and the rules of engagement for working at your school. Ensure the new employee signs and returns a form stating that her or she has received, understands, and will uphold the tenets outlined in the handbook.
Every new hire should also be trained in the following:
- How to respond in the case that a student, teacher, or staff member is injured or requires medical treatment
- Basic safety drills for your school
- How to handle issues related to bullying and harassment that involve either students or adults
- The process for reporting concerns and how those concerns will be addressed
Your school must provide periodic and consistent evaluations for every employee. These should be tailored to best fit your culture and your mission.
Evaluations help keep the channels of communication open and provide time for discussion around what has been accomplished, goals for the future, and areas that present challenges.
A major key in a regular evaluation process is documentation kept by your HR manager. Being able to refer back to prior evaluations is critical if corrective action is needed. If an employee is underperforming or requires behavioral intervention, your corrective process should include verbal warnings, written warnings, and if the needed progress is not achieved, a termination meeting.
Having evaluation and corrective action protocols will provide a strong defensible position should a termination be the final outcome. Your HR manager should put them in place and communicate them effectively with all school leaders.
Use these guidelines to evaluate your HR practices in these three key areas to help protect your school and your students.
Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 16 No. 6 Five Steps to Minimize Your School’s HR Risks
Additional ISM resources for Gold members:
I&P Vol. 39 No. 13 Human Resource Concerns and Proper Legal Counsel
I&P Vol. 34 No. 4 Why Professional Human Resources Advice Is Essential to Your School