Retaining personnel can be referred to as the practices and policies employers provide which help persuade employees to continue with an organization. Some of the practices and policies offered include a school district’s benefits package, the school climate and morale, as well as the district’s various improvement plans.
Everyone knows that educators are definitely not one of the world’s highest paying professions. Because of this, school districts need to do the best they can to help support their employees in various ways. One way they can do this is by offering a competitive and affordable benefits package. Hanover County has one of the best and lowest costing packages in the Richmond-Metro area according to our Director of Finance. They offer a variety of health and dental plans that all employees can afford and the coverage is very good. They also offer many other perks such as flexible spending accounts and tuition reimbursement. Health insurance is very important to most people and can be very costly. Having good and affordable plans will be very attractive to my people and will possibly be a reason why they want to stay. Also, Hanover strives to not raise the employee costs of insurance unless absolutely necessary. In all my years with them, I can only remember the prices increasing once or twice.
School climate and staff morale is another piece that plays a huge part in the retention of employees. Employees who feel supported and appreciated will always go above and beyond. I think this is the most important piece in retaining good people. In order to foster a climate of teamwork and collaboration, a leader must first create a climate of mutual trust and respect. I think leaders who are successful with enabling others to act, are also very good at allowing their followers to take ownership of things. They want to feel like they played a part in the bigger picture. Employers should enable those that they are responsible for by having clearly defined and explained goals and expectations. This will give followers something to strive for. They should be armed with the coaching, encouragement and resources needed in order to achieve any goals that have been set. Employees should know that their administrators are part of their team and always available for help and support whenever they need it. Also, administrators need to make sure they are encouraging the heart of their staff. It is such an important and critical piece to the wellbeing of teachers which in turn affects the wellbeing of students. Teachers pour their heart and soul into their jobs each and every day. They are constantly trying new things and pouring over data and plans striving to make themselves and their instructional delivery better. Staff needs to know that what they do is seen and that their time and effort is appreciated.
Each school district has criteria for evaluating their employees to make sure that they are performing at specific levels. If employees are not performing up to par then there is an improvement plan in place as well as dismissal procedures. I think school employees should be treated similar to how we treat students and given the opportunity to grow and fix their mistakes. I think it is important that county’s have the resources and tools in place to help mentor those struggling employees and help them grow. Often times, it seems like bad teachers, just keep being bad teachers. I feel like it takes a lot of get someone out of the classroom but not a lot seems to be done to try and help them become better.
I think the absolute key to retaining personnel is relationship building. You have to know your people, care about your people, support your people, and help grow your people. Most importantly, they have to know you care and support them. You can offer all the money and benefits in the world, but if people hate coming to work every day, it won’t matter. Plus, we definitely do not want educators who hate their jobs responsible for our children’s futures. I think school districts also need to show more loyalty their employees. Often times in Hanover, people have to leave the county in order to move up and then return once they’ve had some experience in that position in another county. I don’t think that speaks very highly of their trust in their employees’ benefits. This is very sad since Hanover is so great because of the dedication of it’s phenomenal instructional staff.