Overcoming Teacher Employee Shortages
It’s no secret that employee benefits can help attract and retain employees, but does that still hold up during a Great Resignation? With 33 million Americans leaving their jobs in 20211, employers are struggling to keep top talent. This mass exodus of the Great Resignation has created a job-seeker’s dream market right now, where jobs are plentiful, and recruits have the upper hand when negotiating salary, benefits, and other perks. So, what can you do to overcome employee shortages and maintain a competitive edge?
Bus Driver Incentives
It’s natural to feel like you’re fighting against impossible odds, but there are ways to help move things back in your favor. Consider implementing incentives specific to bus drivers. The more tailored they are to the type of people you’re hiring, the better chance you may have at attracting them.
- GPS/Tablets in Buses
- You might see an increase in applicants if you’re able to provide a GPS navigation system or an iPad with access to GPS in vehicles to help drivers feel comfortable with the routes. Helping them find ways to avoid heavy traffic or find the fastest route could prove to be very valuable not only to them, but also to you and your students.
- No matter your budget, there are likely ways to offer some sort of bonus. You could consider attendance-based bonuses that incentivize drivers to be more available and reliable, or a referral bonus if they help bring in more great employees. Consider paying drivers a monthly or quarterly lump sum based on the number of days they drove.
While some of the previous incentives could also apply here, there are more specific options for substitute teachers to consider.
- Incremental Pay Increases
- With budgets already tight, even the smallest increases could prove to be extremely valuable. If you’re paying $125 but the district down the road is only paying $100, you have the upper hand. Do some investigating to figure out where you fall, and determine whether a slight increase in pay could help you attract subs.
- Like bus drivers, offering bonuses could be helpful in retaining your substitute teachers. For example, you can provide bonuses that are specific to providing advanced learning or technical skills.
Teacher and Staff Incentives
In addition to the suggestions above, consider these options for the rest of your faculty and staff.
- Quick Wins
- Offer additional vacation days. Adding just one more day to their bank could be enough to make you a better fit for the candidate. You could also offer designated parking spots to everyone or just certain employees. No one likes to stress over whether they can find parking. Take that easy win!
- Long-Term Rewards
- A great way to show employees you care is by investing in them and their future. Create an additional bucket of money that’s distributed to their retirement program. If budget is a concern, you can do this based on performance goals. You can also invest in their education by developing a tuition reimbursement program, or by offering student loan forgiveness (which can vary by state).
Incentives For Your Budget
It’s difficult to create incentives that don’t impact your bottom line. However, there are ways you can utilize free or low-cost resources to give your organization an edge.
- Leverage Social Media
- Is your organization active on social platforms? If so, use them to your advantage. Create a contest for your employees by asking them to share open positions, or one that promotes your culture by asking employees to share what they like best. Rewards are easy too. Just enter everyone who participates for a chance to win a low-cost prize (gift cards work great here).
- Are there local businesses that operate on part-time or seasonal employees? Talk with them about cross-promoting open positions on their social platforms.
- Use Your Community
- Most people and businesses within a community will do whatever they can to help educators. Consider adding to your list of employee incentives by partnering with someone local. Do you have yoga instructors who’d be willing to give a free lesson once a week or once a month? Is the local pet shop open to bringing puppies by for a day to boost morale and promote adoptions?
- Create a call for volunteers by letting your community know you need help covering recess or more support during lunch. You’ll likely find people who can’t commit to something consistent like bus driving but are willing to show up once a month to help with recess.
Traditional benefit options are likely no longer enough to attract and retain top talent, and you’re likely not the only organization in your area trying to hire. You’re competing for the same small pool of talent. And with more companies allowing remote work, some organizations are even competing on a national and international level. Give your organization the upper hand by getting creative with the incentives you offer and get on your way to overcoming those staffing shortages.
This blog is up to date as of April 2022 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.