Evans - HR by BrittanyGibbons

VIEWS: 152 PAGES: 10

									National FORUM of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal
                           26 (4) 2009

National Impact: The Role of Human Resources Management
    and Leadership Development in Education and Their
            Effectiveness on Teacher Retention

      LaShonda M. Evans                        William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
   PhD Student in Educational                  Professor and Faculty Mentor
           Leadership                           PhD Program in Educational
 Prairie View A & M University                           Leadership
Department Chair, Counselor (2006)             Prairie View A & M University
             Klein ISD                         Distinguished Alumnus (2004)
                                               Central Washington University
          Houston, Texas
                                                  College of Education and
                                                     Professional Studies
                                                 Visiting Lecturer (2005)
                                                    Oxford Round Table
                                                University of Oxford, Oxford,


Key changes are starting to occur in today’s workplace. Employees are not as
hesitant to change jobs and/or occupations. They relentlessly pursue the “right fit”
for them in the shape of employer. In response to this exodus, and ever-changing
demographics and workforce, human resource management personnel are being
forced to focus more attention and energy on not only retaining their employees, but
guiding these employees through various in-house development programs into key
positions of leadership within the company. More specifically retention of teachers
in the field of education continues to be a constant issue for districts and schools,
despite the steady preparation of teachers within the United States. The purpose of
this essay is to discuss administrative leadership, human resource management and
the use of policies to increase the retention of educators in the field of education.
Note: Special note of gratitude to Dr. Kimberly Grantham Griffith for her
assistance in getting this article published. See: www.nationalforum.com

    In 10 years, there will be 30 million job openings with only 23 million qualified
employees available - a shortage of 7 million employees! To top that off, employee
turnover is predicted to double as the economy recovers. Even more disheartening, a
2003 study by the Society for Human Resource Management and Wall Street Journal Job
Recovery identified 83% of employees were likely to seek new employment once the job
market and economy improved. The attraction and retention of key workers is a top
priority! The question that companies and employers should be constantly asking
themselves is “What are WE doing to attract and retain talented, skilled employees?”

                                   Purpose of the Article

    The purpose of this essay is to discuss administrative leadership, human resource
management and the use of policies to increase the retention of educators in the field of
education. More specifically, it will focus on why employees leave and what employers
can do to ensure that their talent remains. Several key points will be addressed, including
what research says about employee retention, effective leader/administrator
characteristics, and education alignment models (which will address recruitment,
assessment, professional development, hiring packages, compensation, and performance
and management).

             Key Points - What does research say about employee retention?

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics report dated November 9, 2004, cites that employee
turnover in the U.S. averages about 20%. The National Center for Education Statistics
reported that across the nation 9.3% of public school teachers leave before they complete
their first year in the classroom, and over 1/5 of public school teachers leave their
position within their first three years of teaching. (Greiner & Smith, 2006) Employee
retention is a key component for a successful business. "Employee retention can be
defined as the effort by an employer to keep desirable workers in order to meet business
objectives." (Frank, Finnegan & Taylor, 2004) Administrators have no choice but to
place considerable time and effort into recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers.
We must hire the best and retain our best. We cannot afford to train top talent and then
watch them leave with their expertise after just a few years for other school districts.
(Polansky & Semmel, 2006) Polansky and Semmel go on to state the main security
against this occurrence is by “pre-screening” employees and break it down into four main
steps. These include: Meet and judge; Develop and communicate high-quality teaching
standards; Provide opportunities for success; Fish or cut bait!
     Meet and judge: In their rush to fill a position, school administrators often overlook
the importance of this step. Selecting the correct personnel is one of our most important
jobs. However, simple paper screening is insufficient. (Polansky & Semmel, 2006) The
10-minute interviews will lead to the quick identification of the "keepers." Do not
prejudge candidates' transcripts. A course grade of 'D' as a freshman should not influence
a hiring decision. Once you have narrowed the candidate pool, watch them teach. If it is
summer, we bring together a cadre of students for a demonstration lesson. (Polansky &
Semmel, 2006)
     Develop and communicate high-quality teaching standards: The teaching standards
for the school district should act as a rubric for new teachers. Standards should align to
local, state or national criteria and be consistent with the common core of acceptable
practices defined in your district. (Polansky & Semmel, 2006)
     Provide opportunities for success: Administrators need to develop avenues for
dialogue and reflection in meeting these standards. Peer classroom visitations, after-
school reflection seminars and structured mentoring programs must be at the core of the
communication opportunities. Mentoring opportunities often are perceived as costly, yet
it is not necessary to provide additional stipends. Most mentor training is done at the state
level to certify the competence of the mentor. The state often provides a small stipend,
but we have found it is not about the money. It is all about creating a mentoring
relationship (Polansky & Semmel, 2006)
     Fish or cut bait: How do you assess a new teacher's performance? How long do you
wait for the individual to mature and blossom? Every December, we ask each principal to
determine the growth of all untenured teachers and how they are doing. We measure each
teacher's effectiveness and growth against the teaching standards. We ask each
administrator this question: Has the non-tenured (4 years or fewer of experience in our
state) teacher demonstrated the skills and ability of superior performance or the potential
to demonstrate superior performance? (Polansky & Semmel, 2006)
     In an effort to respond to labor market challenges and to take a proactive approach to
employee retention, a Fortune 500 wireless communications company conducted a study
consisting of three surveys and consequently implemented a recognition initiative. Three
different samples were surveyed, with the goal of identifying predictors of turnover and
factors affecting an employee’s intention to leave or stay with the company. One of the
key findings from the preliminary data showed that consistent employee recognition was
rated very highly among employees as a factor influencing retention. This is consistent
with industry research, which also identifies recognition as a key factor in retaining top-
performing workers. These important findings, coupled with the human resources
department’s strategic goals, generated actions to increase employee recognition. Those
actions included improving tools and opportunities for employee recognition, as well as
educating managers. (Phillips, 2007)
     Companies can also improve retention rates by providing concise and clear
expectations; adequate resources; meaningful work; and recognition for good work.
Progressive management should try to improve retention by reinforcing positive reasons
for staying, while at the same time making it easier for people who are staying for
negative reasons—negative to both employer and employee—to quit. Improving
employee retention will be more effective over the long run than the ordinary, negative
approach of simply reducing turnover. The key is improving attitudes about the work
itself, supervisor competence, confidence in the fairness of management, work group
cooperation, consistency in treatment, feedback about performance, opportunities to get
ahead, and other positive aspects that relate to the work context. Work content factors—
those aspects of the job inside the organization—include pay, benefits, facilities,
attendance rules, and other environmental aspects. Other external factors that effect
retention include outside job opportunities, the community, financial obligations, family
ties, and even the annual weather patterns. An analysis of workplace trends shows that
employee perks, a reliable barometer of job market strength, are beginning to make a
comeback. While not as extravagant as those offered in the late 1990s, companies clearly
are shifting their focus from workforce reduction to workforce retention. (Challenger,
2006, p. 19)
    Employee retention is something you have to work at. It’s not just about giving
employees’ bonuses. It is about listening to employees and letting them know you heard
them by taking action. More and more companies also are learning that workers desire
the opportunity to grow professionally in the workplace. Perks are an integral component
of employee retention. But companies that cannot afford to institute costly perks can find
ways to make sure current employees are happy. Doug Dorman, vice president of human
resources for the Greenville (S.C.) Hospital System explains that there is a definite sense
of urgency when it comes to employee retention, knowing that labor shortages are
returning. Dorman notes, however, that they have not focused on perks, "but rather on
creating a culture of recognition and appreciation. Employees stay when they have good
two-way communication with management and are truly appreciated and recognized for
their contributions." (Challenger, 2006, p. 19)
    Fuller offers the following tips for retaining talented employees: Show them the
money. A competitive compensation and benefits package demonstrates to employees
you place a fair value on their work. Encourage camaraderie. Employees who have
friends in the office typically are more satisfied and productive. Promote activities that
build rapport among staff members. Offer support. Lend a hand and be willing to make
concessions when employees encounter personal difficulties, such as an illness in the
family. This can be just as effective as money at promoting loyalty. Provide praise.
Acknowledge staff contributions. Simple actions, such as recognizing someone's efforts
during a staff meeting or writing a thank-you note, can go a long way toward enhancing
morale. Give them a break. Everyone needs time to recharge to perform at his or her best.
To this end, consider giving your team a few extra days of vacation or closing shop early
on a Friday. ("Employee Retention Not High," 2005, p. 15)

                                  Why do employees stay?

    Employees remain at organizations when they feel valued and when the organizations
that they work for offer them more than a place to work and a paycheck. They want to
work for organizations and employers who care about them as a whole person - not just
as the employee. Many human resource executives spend a great amount of time and
money investigating the causes of employee turnover, particularly through exit
interviews. The objective is to find out why people leave. If a company can identify the
reasons for terminations and departures, it can remove some of the causes for employee
dissatisfaction. There are, however, shortcomings with this traditional practice of exit
interviews. An ever-changing demographic and workforce has dictated that employers
not only address why employees leave, but also why they stay. The reasons why people
stay are just as important as the reasons for leaving. One individual may stay in a job for
the same reason another leaves. The mere fact an employee stays is not as important as
“why” that person remains.
    There are a myriad of reasons why employees remain with their companies and most
of these reasons will fall into one of two categories: internal or external. As the Queen of
Soul states it, “R*E*S*P*E*C*T,” All I’m asking for is just a little respect!!! Managers
must memorize and practice this simple slogan with respect to their employees as a first
step in retaining their employees. They also must develop open, productive, relationships
with their employees before loyalty is earned. Employees tend to stay where they are
until some force causes them to leave. According to a study of more than 400 employees
in three different companies that investigated the reasons employees stay and proper
ways to encourage retention, some employees report they stayed because they like the
schools or the neighborhood, but what if both of these deteriorate and become less
appealing? Other job opportunities become more attractive. Other employees report they
stayed in an unpleasant job because they could not leave the community in which they or
their spouses were born and had lived most of their lives. Despite low job satisfaction,
they stayed. Employers must ask those who stay why they choose to do so. To keep
them, employers must reinforce the positive aspects of their employees’ reasons for
staying and eliminate the negative aspects of jobs.
    Three key elements are critical for ensuring that top talent remains within your walls:
Train Managers; Develop Employees; Create Friendly, Supportive Work Environments.
Front-line supervisors are critical to the retention of top talent. Employees will stay if
they have a good relationship and open communication with their immediate boss. Equip
your supervisors with training to develop leadership competencies in the following skill
areas to ensure employees remain: trust building, team building, communication skills,
stress management, change management, sexual harassment prevention, and diversity.
Other ways that employers have learned to keep employees is by providing them with
opportunities to develop their skills and talents, helping them grow in current positions,
across functions, or into higher positions of authority and responsibility. Career growth,
learning and development” are the top reasons people stay at their jobs. Research shows
again and again that “fair pay and benefits” rarely makes the top 10 of why people stay at
their job. Yet many management teams try to retain employees with money, thinking this
will “fix” the problem of employee retention. The data shows nothing could be further
from the truth and this is just a temporary solution.

                             What does an effective leader do?

    What does an effective leader do differently? There are three interrelated
preconditions which must be fulfilled in order to influence any group: the leader must be
willing to lead, have permission to lead, and be capable of leading. We often assume that
someone promoted to a senior position is willing to lead. In most cases, though,
promotions are given as recognition of good performance in a previous role and are
accepted because they confer higher status, better pay and more authority. But it is
important to realize that willingness to lead is not automatic.
    Permission to lead relates not to the employer's formal confirmation of a new role, but
to the respect shown by team members towards a leader and their willingness to follow
directives. This largely depends on gaining the respect of the group's key opinion
makers. Many people mistakenly believe that once they are given authority, others will
automatically respect them, but this is not guaranteed.
         Assuming that there is a willingness to lead and permission from the group to do
so, things still won't work unless there is also clear evidence of the ability to lead well.
Don't believe in the myth of the "born leader". The necessary skills can be learned and
must be developed like any other competency. To excel, one needs to learn the
techniques and supporting traits such as communicating like a leader, coaching others,
establishing effective feedback, acting with integrity, and encouraging employee
    Effective leaders are invaluable in an era in which corporations must change course
frequently to navigate obstacles and opportunities--a fact that has helped boost LD to new
levels in many firms. Forward thinkers are going beyond business school programs and
feel-good events such as board retreats and experiential learning programs, many say.
The new philosophy is about making management and leadership development an
ongoing process tailored to individual needs but also firmly rooted in an organization's
culture. Technology often plays a role by providing tools for ongoing LD for managers
and executives, and more. (Barron, 2004)
    How does the effective leader accomplish his/her goals? This leader needs to share,
facilitate, and guide decisions about instructional improvements so that everyone benefits
from their collaborative and cooperative efforts. He needs to remind himself that alone he
will not accomplish anything. He must be able to bring together others who feel the same
thing. How does he accomplish this task? He must communicate effectively with those he
wishes to bring together. He must have the skill to interact with others and be persuasive
at the same time. If people are held accountable for change they will feel empowered.
Teachers become self-motivated when they work toward goals they believe in. An
effective leader realizes that decision-making is to be shared by all. A principal of the
school cannot do everything on his/her own. There is not enough time or enough stamina
to attempt to do it all. When an issue arises such as schedule concerns, the more people
involved in the decision making process the chances improve that whatever conclusion is
reached it will be embraced by the faculty more readily. The effective instructional
leader recognizes that the improvement of his/her school means the improvement of the
people in that school including himself/herself. Along with this improvement is the
commitment to create the conditions necessary for growth and ownership among the
faculty and staff.

                            What does an effective leader seek?

    Exceptional leaders seek to truly understand their own style. They know their
strengths and limitations, and they know how they influence and affect others. But, most
importantly, they seek to understand the extent to which their own strengths and
limitations actually affect others. Such leaders see the ways in which they contribute to
the organization and to the individuals within it. They know when their approach is
moving in the wrong direction, and have the skill and courage to correct the course.
Exceptional leaders seek to honor and respect the power they possess, not only the power
of the position but also the power of their own style presence. They are, in short,
reflective leaders with a conscience about the ways they impact, influence, and affect
     Exceptional leaders are superb communicators in ways that empower others to rise to
their best. These leaders seek to know the dreams of their teachers and their students. As
leaders, they believe that passion for life is intrinsic and that passionate people are
passionate teachers. Such leaders seek to create momentum toward learning with their
teachers every day helping them draw upon their own styles and individual strengths,
helping them find strength when confidence is low, helping them restore hope when
doubt arises. Exceptional leaders seek to build bridges between people whose style
causes them to see things differently. Such leaders seek to help teachers see how their
individual differences and style strengths contribute to collaborative problem solving for
the success of each student. Exceptional leaders seek to make the management of the
school an invisible process so that everyone can focus on the success of children and
young people without distraction. Exceptional leaders seek to define their schools, first
and foremost, in terms of high standards and children’s successful learning performance,
not by standardized test scores. Exceptional leaders seek to create a safe and reflective
environment in which teachers discuss the meaning of high quality curriculum and
research-based teaching and learning. Exceptional leaders seek to engage in ongoing
dialogue about the most effective ways to understand the child as a learner as well as the
best ways to address each child’s learning, including learning styles. Exceptional leaders
seek a balance between content, skill and process, and support teachers in implementing
it. And, exceptional leaders seek to evaluate all the elements of the system for the ways it
does or does not respect individual differences.

                         What does an effective administrator do?

    In order to have excellent educational leaders a certain repertoire of skills,
strategies and characteristics need to be found within the administrator. These skills,
strategies, and characteristics are comprised of a litany of experiences and attempts to
improve and enhance the educational system. There are key ingredients that create a
competent administrator in education: being a good, empathetic listener, looking inward
(self-analysis) to create improvement, being the primary staff developer and supporter
and realizing that one can not go it alone. Much of the literature about leadership in
education emphasizes the administrator’s ability to listen to those around him or her, to
affirm those same people and envision a process of change for his or her school.
Envisioning this change and articulating it are basic components of an administrator’s
position. The educational leader should be a good listener, an empathetic leader who
should try to see the situation from all sides rather than just his own, respecting others’
differences. Listening esteems the person who for example might be having difficulty
with a particular change. For in listening the educational leader sends a message of
compassion to the speaker (Brown & Moffett, 199, p. 135). In order to be a good listener
one needs great patience, control, and very good communication skills. A central focus
must be classroom instruction and the administrator must emphasize and be clear about
this issue to his/her faculty. The classroom is where the most critical contacts with
learners are made. It is where we succeed or fail in the pursuit for excellence (Brown &
Moffett, p. 89). So, how does an effective leader focus his faculty to pursue excellence?
Have them buy into the scheme, the plan, the mission, and the vision! Show the faculty
what evidence exists that through their own experience they earn empowerment. Allow
them to wallow in self-efficacy, let them sense they are capable, competent to do things
(Brown & Moffett, p. 17). From being empowered they can be successful because they
have a sense of ownership. An effective administrator must take the first steps to the
road of improving the school by sharing his/her vision and values with the faculty and
staff. He/she has to address these issues honestly and clearly so that everyone working
with him/her has an unclouded understanding of where they want the school to go.

                                     Alignment Models

    A number of states and districts are now considering policies that would encourage or
require teachers with NBPTS certification to accept assignments in low-performing
schools and classrooms. For example, in Georgia, legislators recently passed a bill that
eliminates the previous 10% salary incentives for all new board-certified teachers. The
bill requires that, in the future, teachers who earn or renew their board certification will
receive a 10% salary increase only if they work in a school that has been on the state's
roster of low-performing schools for two or more consecutive years. (Teachers who
achieved board certification in or prior to 2003 are "grandfathered" in and will receive
their bonus for the duration of their current license.) A similar proposal from the
governor's office has been on the table in South Carolina. It is fairly well accepted
among policy makers, practitioners, and the public that teacher salaries remain too low to
attract and retain enough talented and well-prepared people to fill our nation's
classrooms. In one of the few studies conducted, researchers concluded that teachers
would need to be paid at least 50% more to teach in hard-to-staff schools.
        In most of the schools studied, the board-certified teachers report that their
principals do not know much about how the certification process can be used for
professional development. However, the national study identified one outlier, in North
Carolina, where teachers and administrators are learning how to cultivate the leadership
of board-certified teachers and use their knowledge and skills to spur school
improvement and increase student achievement. In this rural school (described more fully
as "Adams Elementary" in the February 2005 issue of Educational Leadership), a
principal and a growing cadre of board-certified teachers (now over 50% of the faculty)
have created a rapidly improving community of learners, with 85% of students meeting
grade-level standards. Adams is now a North Carolina School of Distinction and has met
20 of 21 AYP (adequate yearly progress) targets under No Child Left Behind.

                                  Concluding Remarks

    In conclusion, people who are entrusted with the economic and social future of the
United States should be unnerved about what is happening—and not happening—in the
essential areas of teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention. (Budig, 2006)
Research has shown that more than monetary compensation influences the decision of an
employee to remain with an organization. Employee retention and employee engagement
are joined at the hip, and represent two major HR challenges as we move further into the
21st Century. How do we keep our talent, given unprecedented shortages and erosion of
loyalty, and how do we keep them engaged, and even passionate about the work they do?
(Frank, 2004, p. 11) What steps are employers taking to retain and engage their
employees? Historically, they have taken the traditional "fix." The Society for Human
Resource Management (SHRM) periodically surveys employers on retention initiatives.
Its most recent survey indicates that the most common employee retention program is
tuition reimbursement, followed by competitive vacation and holiday benefits, and then
competitive pay (Collison (Frank, Finnegan & Taylor, 2004)
Teaching is a massive human enterprise, whose training needs dwarf those of the
military. The costs are huge, but the nation can no longer rely on altruism. The funds that
go toward the creation of a first-class teaching force are investments, not expenses. And
the nation cannot afford not to invest in the profession. Teachers matter. (Budig, 2006, p.
         If predictions hold true, HR professionals will be consumed by the twin business
issues of employee retention and engagement. Turnover is likely to be at unprecedented
levels, with lack of engagement not far behind. As discussed, the culprits will be
seemingly inevitable labor and talent shortages, compounded by trust at an all-time low,
accompanied by the erosion of loyalty. At its worst, the problems of turnover and
disengagement may so preoccupy us that there will be little time left over to work on the
other necessary and essential HR responsibilities. At a minimum, HR professionals will
need to lead their organizations' efforts to combat the dramatically increasing costs of
turnover and disengagement.
         So how does this affect what we must do? Retention and engagement must be
viewed as a broad organizational and cultural strategy involving all levels of the
organization. Leaders at all levels in the organization must become trust-builders, in
order to combat the ravages of layoffs and fears of off shoring. To do this, they must be
equipped with the leadership retention and engagement competencies critical for creating
committed workforces. To ensure that leaders own the retention and engagement mission,
they must be held accountable and be rewarded for retention and engagement.
     All employees, including front-line employees, need to be retention and engagement
advocates, encouraging colleagues to remain with the organization, communicating
frustrations to their leaders, and helping to build a strong climate of trust and


Barron, T. (2004). The Link between Leadership Development and Retention: Providing
       a Source of In-House Replacements for Current Leaders Down the Road Helps
       Drive Cultural Change and Retain Key Talent. T&D, 58(4), 58+. Retrieved March
       29, 2007, from Questia database:

Brown, John L., & Moffett, Cerylle A. (1999). The Hero’s Journey. ASCD.
      Alexandria, VA.

Budig, G. A. (2006). A Perfect Storm: America's Economic and Political Leaders Should
       Be Concerned about the State of Teacher Recruitment and Retention. A Major
       Teacher Shortage Has Been Predicted, and Mr. Budig Relates How the College
       Board's Center for Innovative Thought Proposes to Bring Greater Prestige to the
       Teaching Profession. Phi Delta Kappan, 88(2), 114.
Challenger, J. A. (2006, January). Perks Are Perking Up Again. USA Today (Society for
       the Advancement of Education), 134, 19.
Employee Retention Not High Priority. (2005, April). USA Today (Society for the
       Advancement of Education), 133, 15. Retrieved March 29, 2007, from Questia
       database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5009143727

Frank, F. D. (2004). Introduction to the Special Issue on Employee Retention and
       Engagement. Human Resource Planning, 27(3), 11. Retrieved March 29, 2007,
       from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5007552241

Frank, F. D., Finnegan, R. P., & Taylor, C. R. (2004). The Race for Talent: Retaining and
       Engaging Workers in the 21st Century. Human Resource Planning, 27(3), 12+.
       Retrieved March 29, 2007, from Questia database:

Greiner, C. S., & Smith, B. (2006). Determining the Effect of Selected Variables on
       Teacher Retention. Education, 126(4), 653+.

Phillips, P. P. (2007). Retaining your best employees. Alexandria, VA.

Polansky, H. B., & Semmel, M. (2006, September). Hiring the Best and Retaining Them.
       School Administrator, 63, 46+.

See: www.nationalforum.com

To top