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How to retain your top-performing staff and attract the best candidates.

  • Date: Mar 03, 2023
  • Author: Alastair Tulloch

Teaching is an important job. Many of us can remember a teacher who inspired, supported, or encouraged us during our school life. However, the past few decades have seen an alarming number of teachers leaving the profession and a lack of graduates choosing to enter it. Leaving schools and education providers struggle to attract high-quality staff and manage staff retention. 

These issues around staff attraction and retention are driven by contention surrounding pay, unsustainable workloads and burnout amongst experienced teaching staff which have been compounded by the failure of the Department for Education (DfE) to meet trainee targets, missing their targets for secondary school teachers by 41% in 2022. Because of this, schools are experiencing talent gaps, especially in subjects such as Maths and Science.  

Local pay gaps and regional differences in school funding across the UK have also made it harder to recruit and retain teachers in different regions. In deprived areas for example, pay for teaching roles is 11% lower than for non-teaching professions. 

3 ways to manage staff retention in Education 

If you are about to begin your next recruiting cycle for the new term in September or you’re hoping to retain some of your long-term temps for the next academic year, we have some great strategies for managing staff retention to retain your top-performing staff and attract the best candidates:

1. Work to reverse the wellbeing decline 

According to one survey from 2021, 43% of teachers show one or all of the symptoms of burnout and a staggering 80% feel negativity or cynically towards their profession ‘some or all of the time.’ Rather than experiencing relief following the end of the pandemic, the situation continues to decline with 91% of teachers in 2022 saying their job seriously affects their mental health.  

Schools and educational trusts want to relieve the pressure on overstretched and burnt-out teaching staff to encourage staff to stay in the profession. Improving retention gives you breathing room to attract new staff to reduce workloads. To do that requires a greater focus on wellbeing.  

One fantastic resource to access is the DfE’s workload reduction kit, providing training around emotional resilience and offering plenty of opportunities for teachers to access counselling and other wellbeing resources can all help reverse the decline in staff morale. 

2. Get feedback from your teachers and use it! 
Perhaps the most important way to attract and retain staff is to gather feedback from your teachers on what they feel is working and what ways you can improve your workplace culture to better support staff. 
You can gather feedback as part of your usual review processes and it’s also important to build in opportunities to give more informal feedback throughout the year. Your current staff may be able to pinpoint areas for improvement that you’ve previously missed. Gathering information should also be part of your exit process for staff who are leaving or who have come to the end of their temporary contract. 

Once you have feedback you can act on it to create a more attractive workplace environment that can help you draw in new staff and manage staff retention. 

3. Develop your talent pipeline 

Sourcing specialist talent in challenging times requires developing a robust pipeline of talent. If you are finding it difficult to find teaching staff in core subjects or qualified specialist support staff and teaching assistants, then it’s worth building a more targeted recruitment marketing strategy that can attract the right talent when you need it. 

Candidates that don’t quite meet requirements now may be right for positions further down the line so building relationships with unsuccessful candidates can be worthwhile. Using targeting advertising can help you reach local talent and using referrals from current employees can widen your reach. 

You might also think about using an experienced specialist recruiter whose industry knowledge and contacts can help you develop a resilient talent pipeline that can respond to your needs quickly and effectively. 

At Vetro we support Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, SEN Schools (special educational needs), and FE (further education) provisions across Wales and England, helping them find permanent and temporary teachers and specialist staff with the skills they need. 

If you are experiencing staff shortages or need help in attracting skilled teaching professionals in your region we can help. 

Find out more about Vetro Education or contact a consultant to discuss your hiring needs.

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