Morning Night and Day

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yesterday, the great Tim Sackett had a wonderful post on HR's role is primarily a sales position.  So, put on your sales hat and tell me how you would recruit in the following scenario:

You're the HR director for a school district in Wisconsin.  $834 million in cuts to education have been enacted by the state government.  Despite massive cuts to valued programs such as Advanced Placement, music, and art, as well as a significant number of teacher jobs eliminated, you somehow have to fill a teaching position under the following constraints:

  • Wages are frozen, or tied to an increase in the Consumer Price Index
  • Health benefits  (including dental) that were negotiated by taking a lower salary now require the hire to pay 12.6% of wages
  • Pension benefits that were negotiated by taking a lower salary now require the hire to contribute an additional 5.8%
  • Wellness incentive premiums are suspended
  • Collective bargaining rights have been stripped away
  • Rights regarding teaching hours are suspended
  • Rights regarding non-teaching duties are suspended
  • Grievance procedure rights are suspended
  • Class sizes will be increased
  • Older, more experienced educators that you might have counted on to serve as mentors and models for younger teachers to emulate, have either been laid off or have taken early retirement.  Emeritus programs have been reduced or eliminated
  • Rights regarding assignment, transfer, and reassignment have been suspended. 
  • The people you are trying to hire have been demonized by the state government and the press, as lazy and parasitic. 
  • Seniority rules that might have encouraged hires to put in their time have been eliminated, meaning it is likely that you are likely going to have go through the search process again in the not too distant future
  • Its frickin' cold in Wisconsin from mid-September until May.
So, how do you convince the best and brightest educators to not only come to your district, but stay?   How do you lure a competent teacher with two kids, ages 7 and 8, to come to a state where the schools in which they will enroll have undergone significant turmoil?  What's your value proposition?

One comment

Very good questions. My industry is in manufacturing. We have a fairly good compensation package. The reason we need to provide this package is to attract competent employees to keep our business running and producing quality product. Our market drives us to provide such benefits and wages. We are non-union by the way. If we don't provide these benefits and compensation then our employees go elsewhere and we don't remain viable. The market, not us controls what we need to pay and give to stay competitive.

In your example, I would anticipate we will lose good teachers for either other options like charter schools or universities. If enough move to other options then eventually the market will hit a tipping point and the pendulum will swing the other way in favor of teachers. If I am a teacher, I would see no reason to take the job, unless there were other things driving me to the area. It appears the state is taking much of what the teachers are doing for granted. I just hope the good ones can hang in there and wait it out.

by Bryan Jackson on March 16, 2011 at 7:34 AM. #

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