The Vital Link: How Technology Can Help You Hire and Retain K‑12 Staff

Technology plays a vital role in recruiting, hiring, and retaining teachers and staff. The right tools save districts time, money, and stress.

Hiring and Retaining Teachers and Staff

It’s impossible to overstate hiring and retention’s significance in the ever-evolving landscape of education. While quality instruction and student wellbeing often take center stage, quality educators are essential to these goals.

Attracting and retaining highly skilled and dedicated educators and staff members directly supports students’ overall growth and development. That’s why hiring and retention remain essential focus areas in creating thriving and impactful learning environments within school districts. However, technology investment in solutions to recruit, hire, and retain more teachers hasn’t received the same attention as classroom technology in many districts. This presents opportunities to close staffing gaps by giving talent managers readily available tools that can help them increase their impact.

In our recent K‑12 ERP Survey Report, two-thirds of respondents identified hiring and retention as top priorities. More than a third plan to increase investment in this area. Additional reporting around staffing illustrates how pervasive the issue is, regardless of a district’s size or location:

  • 58% of a nationally representative set of district leaders anticipated a “small shortage” of teachers, and another 17% anticipated a “large shortage”1
  • 70% reported a shortage of non-teaching staff2
  • Recent National Center for Education Statistics research showed that 49% of schools reported having at least one non-teaching staff vacancy3

Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of employed school bus drivers fell by 14.7%, school custodian employment fell by 6%, and teaching assistants by 2.6% from 2019 through 2021.4

Hiring qualified and passionate individuals ensures that students receive the best education and support possible. Well-qualified teachers can effectively deliver curriculum, engage students, and foster a positive learning environment. Hiring specialists in special education, technology integration, or counseling can also address diverse student needs and provide targeted support. Hiring high-quality staff directly impacts the educational experience and sets students up for success.

How can technology help? Technology can support K‑12 school district hiring in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Recruitment: Technology can be used to reach a wider audience of potential candidates. For example, school districts can use social media, job boards, and online forms systems to reach out to potential candidates.
  • Screening: Technology can be used to screen candidates quickly and efficiently. For example, school districts can use online assessments to screen candidates for skills and experience.
  • Interviewing: Technology can be used to conduct interviews remotely. This can save school districts time and money can make it easier to interview candidates who live far away.
  • Hiring: Technology can be used to automate the hiring process. This can save school districts time and money, and it can also help to ensure that the hiring process is fair and consistent.

In addition to these specific examples, technology can also be used to support K‑12 school district hiring in a number of other ways. For example, technology can be used to:

  • Create and manage job postings
  • Track applicant progress
  • Manage the hiring budget
  • Analyze hiring and compensation data

School districts can attract more applicants and talented teachers by investing in recruitment strategies, competitive compensation packages, professional development opportunities, and supportive work environments. Ensuring adequate staffing levels through effective hiring practices helps maintain stability, continuity, and consistency in educational programs, leading to improved student outcomes and a positive school culture.

Of course, it’s not just about recruiting more applicants. The data shows it’s also about keeping them. Investing in programs that ensure their success goes a long way toward keeping burnout at bay. All employees need supportive feedback, opportunities for career growth, and easy access to professional and well-being resources. A survey by the National Education Association revealed that more than half of teachers plan to leave the profession sooner than expected,5 and more teachers than ever have resigned mid-year6. That’s why it’s vital to ensure every teacher and staff member feels supported and valued.

Teacher and staff retention saves time, money, and stress

Retaining staff members can be more cost-effective and less stressful than constant turnover. The recruitment and training processes incur expenses such as advertising, interviewing, and onboarding, which can be substantial. They also consume a lot of an HR team’s time and effort.

Investing in retention strategies like competitive salaries, professional development opportunities, mentorship programs, and work-life balance initiatives can reduce turnover rates and alleviate strain on talent management teams. Fewer replacement hires each year also reduces time and effort spent on recruiting and training new employees, allowing resources to be allocated towards improving educational programs and supporting student needs.

Creating a great employee experience is critical. Although 93% of central office administrators7 agree that investing in back-office K‑12 technology is a good use of taxpayer dollars, nearly a quarter (24%) said it’s been more than three years since their district implemented or significantly upgraded back-office systems, while 5% said it had been at least seven years.

And that’s a missed opportunity. Post-pandemic, K‑12 business professionals expect more from technology investment by their districts. In the K‑12 Survey Report, 8 in 10 respondents identified keeping up with technology as critical, and 47% report that lack of staff hurts the performance of their central office.

Long-term teacher and staff retention pays increasing dividends

Retaining experienced and skilled staff members within a school district promotes continuity and stability in educational programs. Teachers and staff who have been with the district longer develop a deep understanding of the community, curriculum, and students’ needs. They possess valuable institutional knowledge and cultivate better student, family, and colleague engagement. Improving retention helps school districts maintain consistent instructional practices, ensure a smooth transition between school years, and provide students with familiarity and stability. This continuity supports a positive learning environment and contributes to improved academic outcomes.

Long-term strategies can benefit from stimulus funding thanks to greater efficiency and a better employee experience. U.S. school districts currently have access to federal funds through ESSER to make generational improvements to their infrastructure and software. The last of those funds must be spent by fall of 2024, but school districts using them to invest in supporting their long-term recruiting, hiring, and retention strategies will realize the benefits for years to come.

It’s time to support student success by investing in teacher and staff career prospects

Technology is well positioned to support improvements in recruiting, hiring, and retention. Helping HR departments streamline processes and provide better support to current employees via career support resources and professional learning represent the way forward. Scaling is often the part that raises eyebrows for already-busy HR teams, but automating administrative and talent management tasks with a modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) system frees HR personnel to focus on impactful work.

Systems can help track employee performance, skills, and career aspirations allowing leaders to quickly identify high-potential employees and provide them with development opportunities that keep them engaged and motivated. Technology can also manage employee compensation and benefits, including salary, bonuses, health insurance, retirement plans, and time off.

It’s time to invest in the future of education by supporting teacher and staff success. When they’re enthusiastic and hopeful about a long career in education, students, families, and the community win.

Interested in learning more?

Are you interested in learning more about how technology can transform hiring, retention, and onboarding in K‑12 education? Join us for an exclusive webinar on June 28, 2023. Discover the power of our integrated finance and HR platform, designed specifically for the unique needs and challenges of education. Reserve your spot now and unlock the true potential of your team!

Hiring Webinar