Surveys from multiple sources have predicted that the 2014-15 campus recruiting year will be very competitive for undergraduates and MBA students. For employers to be successful, it is critical that a well researched plan be put in place perhaps as long as six months to a year prior to setting foot on campus.
We have determined that there are fifteen key components that make a campus recruiting program successful. This series will commence with the first step: Building the Business Case for a Strategic University Recruiting and Relations Program (URR). As defined by the popular reference Wikipedia: “a business case captures the reasoning for initiating a project or task. It is often presented in a well-structured written document, but may also come in the form of a short verbal argument or presentation. The logic of the business case is that, whenever resources such as money or effort are consumed, they should be in support of a specific business need that adequately captures both the quantifiable and unquantifiable characteristics of a proposed project.”
Most organizations fall into one of three categories: 1) they have no program and want to create one; 2) they “do some college recruiting”, but want to create something more strategic with a solid return on investment, or 3) they have a well-defined program with a desire to make continuous improvements.
As we work with clients, the first question we ask them is, “Why do you want to create or establish a college recruiting program? What are your motivators for taking action? Often, the response is “…..it just seems like the right thing to do because we need people.” Answering the question “why” is a good place to begin building a URR business case. Here are a few qualitative and quantifiable reasons typically used by companies starting a campus recruiting program
Why Have a University Relations Program?
- Needs the latest technologies being taught at the universities to address skill gaps; gain a competitive advantage, and/or up-skill current employees by infusing talent from the best universities.
- Must address workforce turnover, which includes pending retirements, voluntary and non-voluntary departures, replacements, promotions, and/or relocations.
- Has enjoyed business growth, which necessitates hiring new employees.
- Would like to establish closer ties between the organization’s research with partner universities and faculty.
- Can lower salary costs by hiring new campus graduates rather than experienced professionals.
- Can build a bigger and better diversity pipeline through campus clubs and organizations at key schools.
Creating a compelling business case for URR should incorporate the most important reasons of what you want to accomplish using internal data and metrics to support those arguments, where possible, including key outcomes and success factors. Additionally, you will need to provide estimated costs and resource requirements, then analyze the financial and cultural impacts, and assess your organization’s capability/readiness to carry out your program. Ultimately, you will need to document a project plan (which includes main activities/milestones, a timeline and key decision points) and a change management plan.
Establishing a strong business case for URR — clearly understood and embraced throughout the organization — is the first of the strategic elements that make a campus recruiting program successful. Whether you are starting a new university relations and recruiting program or making improvements to an existing one, creating a well thought out business case based on facts is a good place to start.