How employee recognition can help solve teacher-retention challenges
Benjamin Disraeli said it best: “Upon the education of the people of this country, the fate of the country depends.” In a recent meeting with ACTE members from around the state, we all got on the subject of employee appreciation. It is becoming a lost art. In our discussions, many stated that their respective schools/colleges were losing quality educators, which is resulting in a brain drain and low morale. I thought I would look into this anomaly a little more and here is what I found.
In a study of Employee Engagement in the workplace, when employees were asked what educational leaders could do to improve employee engagement, 58% responded, “Give Recognition.” Employees who are not adequately recognized at work are three times more likely to leave the following year. A recent Gallup poll stated, “The number one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.” I have always been one to say, “If you take care of your employees, your employees will walk through walls for you.” All you have to do is look at statistics to see that disengaged workers cost the economy over $300 billion every year (Gallup, 2010).
Too many times in education, it comes down to an “us vs. them” mentality between administration and faculty and staff, with only the student losing. Education, when you think about it, is a lesson in mediocrity. Now, before you throw something at the computer, let me explain. You have some extremely dedicated educators who absolutely have an undeniable passion for what they do. They volunteer for any extra teaching loads, serve on numerous committees, offer their services writing grants, and go above and beyond what is listed in their job description. Then, on the flip side, you have the “others.” The ones who see their job as nothing more than a paycheck. They only show up to teach what they have to: Don’t you dare ask them to serve on any committees and you have to be crazy to ask for help planning any activities. Yet, when it is time for raises, we all get the across-the-board increase. This obviously results in a deteriorating effect on the morale.
So, with dwindling budgets and unhappy educators, what is the answer? The answer is a resounding EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION! According to SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey (2012), 85% of the companies spending a mere 1% or more of payroll on recognition see a positive impact on engagement. It should be simple. Motivated employees invest more effort and enthusiasm in their work since they feel they have a purpose. This should be an extremely important part in any educational institution’s goals as well as fresh in an administrator’s vision for their institution. So, to all my fellow faculty, staff and administrators: I want to recognize you and say a resounding THANK YOU. Thank you for what you do each day, educating the next generation of smart and talented individuals.
Rich Flotron is a 2016 Region III ACTE Fellow.
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