As a school leader, you are constantly recruiting. Whether it’s someone who’s been with you for years, or someone you just hired, establishing and developing the right team is always a work in progress. In this article, we’re going to focus on that amazing teacher you just hired for next Fall, and what you can do to reduce the likelihood that they back out at the last minute. After all, a lot can happen between now and that first day of work and you want to be as proactive as possible about systematizing your process for keeping new hires engaged and excited about joining your team.
You need to establish a consistent baseline for communicating with new hires. At the very least, they should get a monthly email from you with updates on what’s going on at your school. This can include highlights on student progress, extracurricular activities, invitations to school events, opportunities to volunteer, or even bios of other new hires joining the team (get their permission first, of course). Get creative and be sure to include lots of photos!
Tip: You may already send some sort of weekly or biweekly email update to your staff. Use this as your template for sending your monthly email update to new hires. Just make sure your new hire email doesn’t contain any sensitive information that shouldn’t be shared externally.
Schedule a quick 5-10 minute monthly check-in call with your new hires. While these are meant to be an informal way to stay in touch, you can create a structure to these calls if that’s what suits you. Also think about incorporating text messaging into your “Always Be Recruiting” repertoire. Text them a picture from the school day or even a short video of a student they demoed with welcoming them to the team. The important thing is that your new hires hear from you regularly through more than just an email.
Idea: If you want to manufacture some spontaneity to these calls, don’t schedule them with the new hires. Instead, set aside time on your calendar each month to make these “cold calls” to your new hires. If they don’t answer, leave a message. Nothing says “we want you here” like a random pleasant call from your new boss.
Ordering a new school hoodie for the team? Don’t forget about your newly hired teammates! Everyone loves cool swag! Plus, this helps ensure no one feels left out on the first school spirit day of the year.
Idea: Create a system for sending new hires a handwritten note via snail mail. This is an excellent thing to recruit students to help with. Besides building excitement in your new hire, a note from a student makes day one of teaching more familiar, and it also starts to lay early groundwork for student-teacher relationship building.
Think about how you can incorporate new hires into your current PD plans. Through their interview process, you likely already have some idea of what this person needs in order to improve, so spend a little time looking for low cost PD opportunities you can offer them. Even better, give them a small PD budget and put the onus on them to find something. For example, you can allocate $200 dollars (if your budget allows) for them to spend on a professional development opportunity they are interested in. This can be a great way to show how committed you are to investing in their professional growth.
Idea: Invite new hires to be a part of specific team meetings, perhaps one of your monthly all staff meetings, either in person (if local) or virtually. Be sure to make it clear that attendance is in no way mandatory as they may have commitments that will make it difficult to attend. Emphasize that you’d love to get their input on new decisions for the next year, and that the team is really excited to start working with them.