Let’s start with a little good news, bad news. According to a study conducted by Richard Ingersoll, Ph.D., professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, 200,000 new hires join the teaching force every year – and that really is good news! People still want to teach! The bad news, however, is that only 50 percent remain in the profession over the next five years.

It’s probably not the stale donuts in the lounge that are making the teachers jump ship. With long hours, typically low pay and strict curricula to follow, many unprepared educators are tried and tested early on in their careers.

But you want some more good news? You have an opportunity to change this by creating a culture that your teachers will love. Give them lots of reasons to stick by your side, and start by showing them you know who they (really) are:

1) Remember that Susan is Gluten Free

Well, of course you know everyone is different. shutterstock_271498646 copy.pngThat’s obvious. You already know that Susan eats gluten free and John is a huge fan of The Walking Dead. That Ann has 4 dogs, 3 cats and a lizard, and that Caroline just took a trip to Hawaii that she’s been saving for her whole life — and ended up with sand fleas.

So if you know every single teacher comes with a different set of quirks, why on earth would you offer everyone a one-size-fits-all benefit package?

The face of our nation is changing, and nowhere is the change more evident than in the classroom. (Okay, except maybe the cafeteria). Consider this: compared with the last century, we are increasingly aging and white on the one hand, and young and multi-hued on the other. More and more of us were born in other nations, speak different languages, and carry different cultural traditions with us. Even our family structures are changing—many of us marry older, some opt out of the whole institution. Some of us have several children and others seem to think having kids is worse than – well – sand fleas.
As the face of our classrooms shift, it’s more important than ever to recognize that a cookie cutter approach to employee benefits just won’t work! There’s simply no such thing as one size fits all. Offering a wide variety of plans and lots of choice will help your teachers love you. Not convinced? Offer Pet Insurance to Ann, and see how happy she gets.

2)  Never Forget Their Favorite Thing (It’s Probably NOT Whiskers on Kittens)

Ask a teacher what their favorite thing is, and they just might twirl around in circles singing “prep time”. Every administrator in the world knows that it’s the one thing teachers can’t live without. They are constantly up against it. Grading papers, preparing classes, attending meetings.

Building a school culture that respects and protects prep time is enough to make even the most exhausted teacher feel appreciated. The littlest things like direct deposit can matter a great deal. Conversely, offering a benefits plan where the doctor your teacher really wants to see is an hour away can stick in the craw faster than you can say lonely goatherd.

Provide benefits and services that help your teachers protect their time! It’s the little things that make teachers really happy that are often overlooked. Look for ancillary benefits like ID theft watch, legal services, employee discounts on clothing, healthy snacks in the lunchroom, a discount on the gym membership. Climb every mountain to make your teachers feel valuable – you never know what’s going to make those hills come alive!

3) Make it Simple For Them To Do What They Love

Teachers teach because they love the classroom, so whatever you do, make it easy for them to stay focused on that! Reduce administrative burdens wherever you can, avoiding red tape, complicated software systems, endless piles of paperwork, and benefits that make enrollment time consuming and taxing. Right from their very first day, show them you’re committed to keep teaching the priority by making on-boarding paper-free and easy – so easy they can do it in seconds and get right back to the kids.

Sometimes, it really is the little things that show teachers you respect their time and their profession. Make the administrative stuff pain free and paper free, and keep their love of teaching front and center. Because if you remember their passion, they might just might remember to stay passionate about you.

We’d love for you to share something surprising that makes YOU love your school. Help spread the word that the littlest things can make the biggest impact!

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