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Engaging Teachers and Staff: Discovering Your Driving Force

One of the greatest challenges facing school districts is employee retention. All one has to do is look at current teacher shortages in places like Arizona, North Carolina, and Hawaii and the problem is obvious.

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education identifies teacher shortage areas in all 50 states.

With teacher attrition on the rise, it’s increasingly critical for school leaders to clearly understand how engaged employees, including teachers and staff, are in their work. Evidence tells us that highly engaged employees contribute more than is expected of them and are champions of their work, their profession, and the success of their schools.

During the 2015-2016 school year, our research team embarked on an inaugural series of benchmarking studies. Our intention was to use real school district data to help school leaders compare efforts in core areas, such as school climate, student engagement, special education and, in this case, employee engagement, to similar efforts in other school districts.

By listening to teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, principals, and administrators about the issues that affect their work and responsibilities, we aimed to help school and district leaders discover new ways to support and retain their most valued resource—their staff.

Among the key findings from our inaugural Employee Engagement Benchmarking Study:

  • Smaller districts had higher percentages of engaged and highly engaged staff than larger districts
  • Staff who were working for the district for short periods of time were more engaged or highly engaged compared with staff who had worked for the district for longer periods
  • Engagement is consistent across school levels
  • Lack of professional growth and long-term career opportunities can contribute to a lack of engagement overall
  • Questions about shared values received the highest percentage of favorable responses, while questions about feedback and recognition received the lowest percentage of favorable responses

It is critical that schools continue to invest in staff, cultivate highly engaged employees, and offer healthy work environments. Highly engaged employees contribute to higher overall student achievement, and are more collaborative and invested in their careers, which translates to a better quality experience for students and families.

Interested in learning more? Want the full results of our Employee Engagement Benchmarking Study? Download the study here. Or, see the infographic below for a visual representation of some of the report’s most salient findings.

If you’re a current K12 Insight client interested in joining future benchmarking studies, please reach out to your Strategic Account Executive. If you’re not currently a client, but want to know more about our work and our Benchmarking projects or results, email me directly at stephan.knobloch@k12insight.com. I’m always happy to talk.

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