Auxiliary departments in educational organizations are struggling to retain staff necessary to appropriately meet student needs.
Organizations currently are dealing with labor shortages, so it is more important than ever to reduce staff attrition. There are four key factors that may directly or indirectly impact an employee’s decision to stay with their current employer or seek other employment. These factors include the following:
Whether employees or employers admit it, money matters. An employee must be paid an appropriate amount of money to meet basic needs. When ends don’t meet, an employee will often look for other employment opportunities.
An organization must use market data to remain competitive. It isn’t difficult to notice the change occurring in many auxiliary markets as the “now hiring” signs posted outside of many businesses often display much higher hourly rates compared to those found in education. These marketing approaches can be effective in luring auxiliary staff away.
It is important for educational organizations to remember and highlight benefits offered that may offset a higher hourly wage. Communicating these often to employees may be necessary. Benefits may include insurance, retirement, work schedules, and other perks provided.
HR departments should review auxiliary pay rates, determine the impact of other industries on the market, and identify creative benefit offerings. If a need is identified, determine a strategy for improving pay and benefits.
An educational organization should communicate development opportunities available to employees to improve skills and build capacity. Encourage supervisors to allow staff to share their experiences in growth activities and celebrate staff who advance in the department. Promote activities by displaying training photos on bulletin boards.
Brainstorming development ideas with staff encourages buy-in and empowers employees. Additionally, it’s important to determine the effectiveness of offerings and move forward with what’s working and tweak or discontinue activities that are not.
Development of staff should be a priority. Efforts spent on these tasks can result in high rates of return regarding building pipelines for advancement and retention of staff.
Often lack of support is the reason employees leave an organization. Supervisors must show support in a fair and genuine manner. Even when things are running smoothly, offers of help should be extended.
Support can take on many different looks. It may be the offer of a helping hand. It can be shown through actions or verbal response. Supervisors should be aware of an employee’s need for help even if it isn’t convenient. It’s these types of situations that may be most impactful.
Support is best received when a trusting relationship exists between the employee and their supervisor. Building trust occurs through understanding and requires a commitment to the relationship and a display of care and concern for an individual.
A healthy work environment is one that employees are excited about and desire to report to each day. Following are some characteristics found in this type of atmosphere:
- Collegial relationships: peer-to-peer and peer-to-supervisor relationships are supportive
- Positive culture: smiles are on faces regardless of tough times, including being short-handed
- Empowerment: employees are trusted to make decisions and share ideas
- Clean: facility is bright and welcoming
- Collaboration: employees work together to meet goals
Small steps can make a big difference in retention of staff. It may be sprucing up facilities by brightening a corner with a plant or removing fingerprints from a window. It could be lending a helping hand to a struggling employee. It also may include developing a strategy to encourage advancement used to show employees opportunities for the future. Finally, don’t forget about the importance of competitive pay. A little investment in current employees can result in cost avoidance in recruitment, hiring, and training of new employees.
Karen Dooley is a senior HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Karen an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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