K-12 Talent Acquisition

Educator Shortage Insights from the AASPA Summit Whitepaper

Jul 28, 2022 - Cat DiStasio

Of all the industries impacted by the current state of talent mobility and worker shortages, U.S. public schools are feeling the burn particularly intensely. As K-12 recruiters continue to struggle to find teachers, the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) stepped up to provide research-backed guidance for school personnel professionals. In a whitepaper entitled “5 Shifts to Address the National Educator Shortage,” AASPA offers strategic advice and best practices to help talent acquisition teams in education source, attract, and engage with talent for their open positions—as well as suggestions on transforming organizational culture and the employee experience to help retain that talent.

AASPA’s five-point action plan updates traditional calls to action and helps TA teams in education zero in on areas of improvement that directly impact hiring outcomes. Let’s take a look at their advice, and how it can function best in a hybrid recruiting world.

Shift #1: Reduce barriers to careers in education while preserving standards of excellence.

AASPA begins its list of advice with some common sense. When TA teams focus on clearing obstacles and addressing pain points for candidates, outcomes are likely to improve. Much of this revolves around asking, “What do my ideal candidates want and need?” and then providing recruiting content, virtual events, and a candidate experience that deliver. For many districts, AASPA suggests this includes sharing transparent workforce data, offering data-driven career counseling and improving affordability. Cost-effective options like virtual recruiting can support all of these.

Shift #2: Design comprehensive human capital management systems.

Retention is as much of a focus as talent acquisition in education right now. To improve educator retention, districts need to adopt new organizational people strategies and strategic leadership. In talent acquisition, this is supported by implementing practices that help identify and hire people with soft skills to support inclusive management. Virtual recruiting helps talent acquisition teams reach more candidates, and also screen and evaluate candidates faster than traditional methods, allowing them to quickly identify potential fits and invest more time in each pre-qualified candidate throughout the rest of the recruiting process. Brazen client Hamilton County Schools hosted a series of virtual events and exceeded its hiring goals, including hard-to-fill roles.

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Shift #3: Establish transparent and equitable total rewards systems.

Rewards play a bigger part in retention now, compared with years past, and can be a key differentiator for many districts. AASPA advises districts to create an employee-centered total rewards strategy, transparent offerings, flexible staffing models, and pay equity. All of these perks should be well-represented in your recruiting content, including virtual events. Candidates tend to trust employee stories more than recruiters and hiring managers, so be sure to spotlight current employees in your content, with recorded video or by hosting a panel discussion during a virtual event.

Shift #4: Strengthen educators' sense of purpose, belonging, and connection.

For recruiting and retention alike, educators seek a sense of purpose and meaning in their work (and work culture). Offering meaningful work, autonomy, and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) can all help attract and retain great educators. As with other elements of your talent acquisition strategy, it’s crucial to effectively tell these stories on your careers site, your social media presence, and in virtual events. Whenever possible, include employee stories—and partner with your employee resource groups (ERGs) to teach candidates about your culture.

Shift #5: Deliver exceptional employment experiences.

Much like recruiting in other industries, educator recruiting experiences need to help candidates feel valued, respected, and understood. AASPA advises TA teams to prioritize customer service during the recruiting process, work-life integration and data-driven improvements to this end. Virtual recruiting events can help. Host virtual informational events and Q&A sessions where curious job seekers can learn more about what it’s like to work for your district, and pay attention to trends in the questions they ask. You can use that data to inform future event topics and to create additional recruiting content to target uncertain candidates.

Navigating K-12 Educator Shortages

Following this advice from AASPA could help education talent acquisition teams reach more candidates, increase candidate engagement levels, and result in better hires. Another crucial element of a successful educator recruiting strategy is to collect feedback about the candidate experience and use those insights to update and adjust your tactics as needed. Tuning into the pulse of candidate attitudes, especially as they shift over time, is one way to set your district apart from your competition.

To learn more about how Brazen is helping K-12 talent acquisition teams source, attract, and engage with educators, read the case study below.

Get Lake County Schools Case Study

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