Hiring at the mid-level can be excited, yet challenging as we are seeing an increased exodus of employees in these positions. According to a survey completed by the College and University Professional Association for Human resources, more than half of the employees in higher education said they were likely to look for other employment within the next 12 months.
In the past decade, we have noticed increased in stress related to mid-level employees. According to a Higher Ed Jobs article called “Discontented Middle Managers,” we see stress and burnout related to increased hours, declining resources, increased mental health needs from students, low salaries, inadequate training for DEIA requirements, and lack of opportunities to advance.
Although many institutions are cutting back on funds, we still expect our mid-level hires to be competent enough to handle the increased workload. As staff who is responsible for hiring, it is important to make sure are aware of this heavy burden and try to reassure candidates will be in the best position to do their jobs. Here are some focus areas all institutions need to address and make clear to candidates:
- Assess all benefits staff can take advantage of while working at your institution. This could be free tuition for full time staff, professional development funds, childcare arrangement, and salary increases based on the years of employment or merit.
- Analyze how staff can participate in the bigger goals of the institution. This could be opportunities to sit on committees, being able to give constructive feedback, or work on strategic planning.
- Create opportunities for staff to work on areas they enjoy. This could give staff the chance to teach a class or facilitate a workshop for your department. We will need to understand what staff interests are and provide them the space to grow in those areas.
- Present ways in which staff can have upward professional mobility within your institution. Staff are likely to stay at an institution if they can envision climbing the ladder.
- Develop a plan to have staff bonding. It is of critical importance that we take ourselves away from work and enjoy each other’s company in different settings. There should be a social engagement committee can create a yearly plan for bonding outside of the working environment.