Super Stars – dedicated, hardworking, talented staff who have a great work ethic and a terrific attitude can afford to be fussy! They are highly sort after and in-demand. They are great asset to a school and are in the fortunate position of being able to ‘pick and choose’ where they would like to work. To attract such staff to apply for positions in their school it is more important than ever that school leaders position their school to be the employer of choice.
Being an ‘employer of choice’ simply means becoming an employer who potential and existing employees want to work for, over and above others in the same marketplace, industry or geographic region. Positioning your school as an ‘Employer of Choice’ is not easy and it’s certainly not a quick fix.
Whilst school leaders in many schools don’t have a lot of flexibility with the pay or conditions that they can offer, they can position their school as an ‘Employer of Choice’ by ensuring they support a culture within their school that listens to their staff, addresses their concerns, values their staff through professional development and promotion opportunities and appreciates their staff.
The following are key attributes of being a school that is an ‘Employer Of Choice’.
The Principal and school leadership team have the greatest influence on school reputation and staff morale. High calibre staff want to work with leaders who have a clearly communicated vision for the school and have a reputation for being positive, supportive and visible. Inspiring leadership keeps people informed and appreciated.
Does your school have a good reputation in the broader community? If a potential employee has never heard of your school, they aren’t likely to consider you as their top preference for work. At the same time, if a potential employee knows your brand, but immediately associates it with values, behaviours or ethics that are dissimilar to their own, they again will not see you as an employer of choice. Of course you can’t please all people, but you want to attract employees with similar values and ethics to your school’s for longer term success and better retention rates. Therefore it’s imperative that the messages you send through the marketplace are truly reflective of your actual values and behaviours, to ensure you attract the right ‘fit’ of employee for your school.
What three words would the local real estate agent, hairdresser or barista use to describe your school?
Great staff know that working in schools can be demanding and stressful. A crucial factor in their decision making is the level of staff morale. How happy are current staff? Do they feel appreciated and supported? No one wants to work in an unhappy workplace.
Prospective staff want to know that the school leadership team are concerned about staff welfare and morale. Does the leadership team seek staff input? Is a staff survey conducted regularly and does the survey lead to actions designed to address staff concerns?
If your staff opinion survey indicates that staff morale is not good, it’s time to take stock, take ownership and take action.
The first steps to improving in any area are the three A’s. First you must become AWARE of the issue through seeking some information about the issue or concern. Then you must ACCEPT that the information is true and the concern is real. Finally you will be ready to take ACTION to improve in that area.
Do the school’s communication strategies work? Do staff feel informed about what is going on in the school? Do they feel consulted on important matters that impact on their work? The larger the school the more important that communication strategies are efficient and staff feel informed and involved.
Reflecting on your internal communication strategies such as use of email, efficiency of meetings, decision making processes and use of people’s time is important.
Organisation and Resourcing
Is the school a well-organised place to work? Are appropriate resources provided? Are processes and systems in place to facilitate the smooth operation of the school or is it every man for themselves?
Is time provided for collaboration and the fostering of teamwork to increase efficiency, effectiveness and consistency?
Professional development and leadership opportunities are also important to many superstars. Whilst some staff are aspirational and will want opportunities for career progression, some other superstars want to ensure that they will have opportunities for professional development that will assist them to continue to grow and develop as practitioners.
Interested in becoming an accredited ‘Employer of Choice’ School?
Happy School is about to launch our ‘Employer of Choice’ Accreditation program. Contact us if you are interested in becoming an accredited ‘Employer of Choice’ school.