It’s the third school year during the pandemic, and teachers and staff are leaving faster than they can be replaced. Many have retired or left the profession altogether due to burnout and frustration.
While staffing shortages have brought many challenges, district leaders have an opportunity to retain their teachers and staff by listening and using employee feedback to make positive adjustments within the workplace.
To help school districts better understand the needs of teachers and staff, we released our 2020-21 Benchmark Report on District- and School-Level Employee Engagement which provides critical insight on the perceptions and experiences of teachers, staff, and administrators in the education workplace. It analyzed employee engagement among those working in-person, remote, and hybrid at 14 school districts across the United States.
Here are some important findings from our report:
Overall Employee Engagement
Teachers, counselors, and other staff working closely with students will remain engaged when they feel they have job security, opportunity for career growth, and workplace stability. Despite our concerns of burnout and frustration, nearly 80% of employees who participated in the study were classified as highly engaged or engaged.
Feedback and Recognition
Our study found there’s room for growth when it comes to providing employee feedback and celebrating employees. For example, just over half of teachers who participated in the survey said their districts recognize their high-quality work and accomplishments.
Feedback and recognition is the key to building positive relationships with employees and supporting district success. Increase the frequency in which you check in with and provide feedback to your staff, and consider launching recognition programs, and the district- and school/department-levels, with special perks to celebrate your staff members who are working harder than ever.
Our study found training and professional development continues to make a difference for employees. In some districts, however, there is room for improvement in professional development offerings. Around 20% of employees felt they were not provided professional development opportunities and/or training to meet the current requirements and expectations of their jobs.
Teachers and staff cannot serve their students properly unless they feel empowered and their emotional and mental health needs are being fulfilled. However, nearly three out of four participants strongly agreed or agreed their principal or direct supervisor checks in on them on a regular basis, and those who work fully remote felt they received the least amount of support from their supervisors. It’s more important than ever to check in on your staff and colleagues and find ways to help them maintain their health and wellbeing.