In 2021, a new phenomenon emerged, the Great Resignation. In all sectors of the economy, businesses saw a record number of employees resigning from their jobs. Some left to go back home because they grew accustomed to working from home. Some left for a better paying job, and some left for no other reason than they were exhausted and wanted something different in their life.
So how did this affect the education profession. Teaching and leadership positions saw more vacancies in 2021 than ever before, and I, like many of you, am anticipating more vacancies in 2022. Couple that concern with a huge decrease in qualified teacher applicants, and you would see that there is a huge problem. The Great Resignation will affect many schools this spring?
HOW DO WE OVERCOME THE GREAT RESIGNATION???
If we want to ensure that the Great Resignation doesn't hurt your school, I would recommend that you attack the Great Resignation with an initiative that I would call:
THE GREAT RETENTION
Teachers and leaders sign on for the salary, but they stay on the team because of the culture provided by the leaders. Here is a list of conditions that I believe not only retain your teachers and leaders, but reinvigorate them to return next year ready to be more effective and efficient in growing students.
1. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships. - Education is a relational profession, and as such, people come for the experience, but the come back for the relationships. It is critical to foster and strengthen relationships with every member of the team. People stick around because of relationships and leave to due a lack of them.
2. Advocacy and Protection - A big reason why people leave or stay is because of the leader specifically. If a staff member knows that the leader has their back and will protect them from attacks, they have a stronger likelihood of staying. If they don't feel safety and security, they will look for another place where they will find that protection.
3. Professional Learning - Professional learning has taken a back seat due to the pandemic and I truly believe that it is the reason people leave. If we don’t eat, we will die of starvation, and professional learning is the food people need to survive and then thrive. If we want to retain our teachers, we must make plans to provide short, ongoing, and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) meaningful professional learning all teachers and leaders.
4. Professional Support - Staff members will stay when they see and feel the support. Support comes in a lot of formats, but just a few things to consider are explanations, clarifications, frequent communication, and collaboration.
5. Personal Support - Staff members stay when they know, feel, and see that the leaders consider their personal needs in addition to their professional needs. People have personal lives with families, challenges and needs that at times can conflict with professional needs. When people hear and see from the leader that they care about each staff member’s personal needs and support them with flexibility to meet those needs, they are more likely to stick around.
6. The Leader - It has been said that the players play for the coach; therefore, the staff stay for the leader. If the leader is a powerful influence on the staff, the staff will stay. If not, they will go.
Make Your Retention Plan
At the end of the day, the success of all students is based 100% on the leader’s ability to create a culture that cultivates excellence in the hearts, minds and souls of everyone. If we want to end the great resignation, we must make a retention plan. If we fail to plan for retention, we will not only lose teachers and leaders. We will lose a generation of students.