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Struggling With School Recruitment?

How creative solutions can get you through The Great Resignation

It’s no secret that schools around Australia and New Zealand are finding it harder than ever to recruit star players, both in teaching and non-teaching roles. And schools are not alone. Dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’, workplaces throughout Australia (and the world) are experiencing a pandemic phenomenon where employees leave their jobs in droves. Many are leaving for a better offer; others are simply seeking a change. Late last year, Microsoft research found that over 40% of employees were considering switching jobs — this year, those figures have likely held steady.

We’ve written previously about the trauma it causes when a crucial employee leaves  (Business Risk and Critical Role Management in Schools post). If your school is in the same boat — battling unsuccessful recruitment rounds or seeing job positions go unfulfilled for months — it might be time to explore new solutions to get you through this tricky patch. The Great Resignation is survivable if you take it seriously and are prepared to think outside of the box. 

Here are our top tips.

1. Invest in professional human resources

This first point may sound counterintuitive: you’re already struggling with recruitment, so why throw another role into the mix? 

Many schools — particularly smaller ones — don’t have a Human Resources Manager. When this happens, HR becomes the responsibility of the school’s Business Manager or the Principal. While the individuals in these roles are incredibly talented professionals, they likely don’t have the necessary skill set to properly manage your HR operations.

HR is an essential part of your school’s ecosystem — now more than ever. Your current employees may be experiencing burnout, poor work-life balance or diminishing job satisfaction. They might also feel unsatisfied with their pay or benefits and be considering their options. Having a skilled HR function is one of the best ways to address these issues head-on before they become an issue. HR professionals can support your leadership team to have tough conversations with employees, invest in their team, and retain great performers.

In addition, HR professionals have the skills to support your recruitment efforts. While many potential employees care about their salary and benefits, others are more concerned about values alignment, school culture or work/life balance. A skilled HR professional can do the deep work of understanding why your school is a fantastic place to work and put it into the job description. Not only that, but they can help you to clarify exactly what you are looking for in the vacant role, so you don’t get too specific on your requirements and limit your candidate pool unnecessarily.

2. Speed up your recruitment processes

In 2022, every employee has options. If they are applying for a role at your school, there’s a very good chance they have applied for a position at other schools. If one of your candidates gets another job offer while they’re waiting for their second round of interviews at your school, you might lose them as a candidate, or, in the best-case scenario, they may pressure you to make an offer. 

A short and positive recruitment process is an excellent advantage to get star players in the door faster. Before 2020, the typical hiring process could take 6-12 weeks. Since the start of The Great Resignation, the optimum recruitment cycle is less than two.

Hiring a skilled HR professional is a great first step to streamlining your hiring cycle. They can take a birds-eye look at your entire process from start to finish and identify areas for improvement — for example, consolidating two interviews or removing any aptitude testing. They can also advise on software to support your efforts, helping you to keep track of candidates and automate different parts of your process.

3. Call in the experts

If you’re serious about tackling The Great Resignation head-on, why not enlist a whole team of professionals to support you? Cole School Experts have decades of experience working alongside schools to help them with short-term struggles, setting them up for long-term success.

Need to invest in human resources? We have an experienced team who can leap into action to implement a plan to help you retain great staff and recruit new ones! Looking for support to speed up your hiring cycle? Our school consultants can work with you to simplify your processes, while also advising you on the perfect software to support your search.

Our team can also take over key roles to keep your operations running while you recruit. This gives you the time and space to find the perfect fit, rather than feeling the pressure to hire straight away.

We don’t just help you hire — we set you up for long-term recruitment success! 

If you’re ready to call in the experts, make sure you talk to Cole. We’d love to talk with you about your recruitment struggles and how we can support you.

Let’s chat!