Focus on Belonging
Academic Leaders need to ask daily: what can I do to make sure that my team feels valued, and has a sense of belonging at my school? A recent McKinsey & Company report showed a disconnect between why employers thought their employees were leaving and why they actually are leaving. The report highlighted that employers need to focus much more on employee’s sense of belonging, employees: “didn’t feel valued by their organizations (54 percent) or their managers (52 percent) or because they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work (51 percent). Notably, employees who classified themselves as non-White or multiracial were more likely than their White counterparts to say they had left because they didn’t feel they belonged at their companies.”
Re-Recruit Your Team
It is time to re-recruit your current employees. And yet, January and February are notoriously challenging times in independent schools. Consider what you might do as an Academic Leader to connect deeply with everyone on your team, and reserve time in your calendar now to prioritize those connections. A recent Harvard Business Review article suggested three keys to re-recruitment: spend significant time with each of your employees to understand their motivations and ambitions; make sure that they see their positive impact on the organization and the difference they are making; and make sure that your conversations are on-going, not one and done.
Get Your Job Descriptions Current
Jobs have changed during the COVID pandemic, but most schools have not, in turn, altered their job descriptions. Academic Leaders will want to make sure that their job descriptions reflect the changes that occurred during the pandemic, including possibilities for job flexibility, the technological acumen required to manage new systems, compliance with local or school health and safety policies, and willingness to take on additional duties as assigned.
Check in With Your Attorney
The pandemic hasn’t only changed job titles and descriptions–it’s also brought about changes in hiring and employment regulations. As you review openings and positions, it’s a good idea to check in with your attorney before the hiring season begins. A short conversation will help you to understand national and state requirements, and to avoid any pitfalls that could arise in the interview and decision process. More than in any other year, a little foresight and preparation can avoid costly mistakes.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)