Revolutionizing the Student Experience in Engagement Centers

February 22, 2024

An Innovative Model for Recruitment, Retention, and Student Development  

In the dynamic landscape of higher education, the challenges of hiring and retaining talent are ever-present. Legends, however, has seen success in attracting, retaining, and developing student talent unlike anyone else in the space because our approach not only addresses retention rates and the time-consuming hiring process but also places a profound emphasis on the holistic development of students involved in Engagement Centers.  

How to build thriving student engagement teams

1. Streamlining Time to Hire

We recognize the urgency in building effective teams for student engagement centers. To combat the time constraints of traditional hiring processes, we approach it as follows: 

  • Efficient recruitment pipelines: Develop streamlined recruitment pipelines that leverage technology and timing to identify and attract suitable candidates swiftly. 
  • Targeted outreach: Proactively engage with potential candidates through targeted outreach programs, creating a talent pool ready for quick deployment. 
  • Turnkey onboarding: Implement flexible onboarding processes that prioritize the most essential training, allowing new team members to contribute meaningfully from day one.  

Employee referrals have proven to be a top 3 recruitment method for identifying talented candidates at Legends. We continue to prioritize our employee referral program due to its efficacy.

2. Increasing Retention Rates

Retaining talent in student engagement centers is a persistent challenge. We have worked to create an environment that fosters commitment and longevity through: 

  • Comprehensive training programs: Provide ongoing, comprehensive training that not only enhances job-related skills but also instills a sense of purpose and passion for the mission. 
  • Recognition and rewards: Implement a robust recognition and rewards system that acknowledges individual contributions, fostering a positive and motivating work culture.  

Small, goal-oriented incentives such as opportunities to win gift cards and bonuses for performance in areas such as volume of attempts or free meals for picking up additional hours are a simple way to align students with the mission while keeping them motivated and striving for better results by attaching incentives to things such as performance, showcasing leadership, white-glove treatment to constituents, etc. 

3. Emphasis on Student Development

Recognizing that students are not just employees but young professionals who are looking to develop themselves and their careers, Legends’ model places a strong emphasis on their holistic development: 

  • Skill enhancement opportunities: Offer opportunities for skill development beyond the scope of their current roles, encouraging a culture of continuous learning.  
  • Networking and exposure: Facilitate networking opportunities and exposure to various industries, careers, and opportunities. Showcasing the engagement center as not just a job, but a career beginning. 

Hosting a résumé-building and mock job interview workshop, opportunities to shadow other positions, or networking events with professionals across a variety of industries.

4. Embracing a Student-Driven Culture

Acknowledging the complexities of student life, including managing rigorous schedules and diverse priorities, as well as recognizing their unique workplace needs compared to traditional staff, Legends champions a culture led by students via: 

  • Empowerment and feedback loops: Encourage students to take ownership of their work and establish mechanisms for soliciting and acting upon student feedback. 
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Provide flexible work arrangements and schedules and be willing to adapt policies and preferences to better meet the evolving needs of student workers. 

Sending out engagement surveys each semester to gather direct feedback and establishing action plans based on the results or offering a wide range of scheduling possibilities including afternoon, evening, and weekend shifts, daily operations, and policy adaptations that fit student lifestyle (e.g., a casual dress code or flexible attendance policy). 

Legends’ commitment to a positive and innovative student experience within the engagement center represents a paradigm shift in how we and our partner universities approach recruitment, retention, and student development. By prioritizing efficiency, fostering a supportive culture, and recognizing the unique needs of student team members, the Legends’ model not only meets the challenges of the present but lays the groundwork for an impactful future. As universities navigate the complexities of engagement centers, alumni connectivity, and student employment, Legends welcomes the opportunity to partner and support student-led efforts in engagement strategies. 

Ready to build a dynamic & results-driven student team? Download our guide and discover how an engagement center can boost your institution’s outreach and relationship-building efforts.