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Why should every school district survey their staff this spring?

Simply surveying your staff lets them know you care about them and their working conditions. But checking in is not enough. You need to act on the results, address areas of concern, and protect areas of strength.

You don’t need to be perfect, but your staff needs to know you’re trying to improve.


You cannot write enough press releases to overcome the thousands of conversations your staff are having daily with parents, friends, and neighbors. What are they saying? What is the good, the bad, and the ugly? You need to know.


It’s simple. Your talented employees who aren’t happy will leave. There are plenty of other jobs, many of which pay more and potentially have less stress. But everyone wants to be part of a great team, and most want a voice in creating the future. Ask. Listen. Act. Listen. Top talent will stick around during change or challenges if they feel their input matters, and they feel valued and heard.

What’s more, we’re often told, “Why survey exiters? They’re already gone. What do I care what they think?” That’s unproductive, reactive thinking. You can gain a great deal by learning why people are leaving and looking for common themes. If staff consistently leave for the same reason, what will you do about it?


What traits define your organizational culture? A well-designed survey helps quantify your strengths and weaknesses. This data informs the decisions on whom to hire to help improve your culture and which candidates are likely to thrive. This data also enables you to understand which candidates may not be a good fit for your district’s climate.


Are you getting your staff’s very best effort or the bare minimum it takes to get the job done? The School Perceptions staff check-in survey quantifies the current state of your employees’ hearts and minds. To help put that feedback into context, School Perceptions has architected our software to provide similar school comparisons.

Our reports will help you quickly understand how you compare and where you need to focus your efforts to attract and retain top talent. Results in isolation make it difficult to set priorities. Let us help you put your results in context so you can prioritize your response and make your district a destination during a time when districts are competing for talent like never before.


Engaged employees are more productive and will go the extra mile. Research has shown that in a business setting, organizations with engaged employees have 3.9 times the earnings per share as organizations with lower engagement. The benefit to schools is not measured in profit but in increased student engagement and learning thanks to improved morale and climate.


Education is a “people” business: our services to students and their families are only as good as the people we hire, train, and retain. A staff survey can help you with your long-range strategic planning regarding budgeting and setting priorities during challenging financial times. Your results can also identify short-term and long-term professional development priorities so that your staff development supports the needs of your staff and your students.


Staff are typically quite supportive of referendum efforts. They are, in a way, the first hurdle to clear. If staff aren’t on board with what you’re proposing, it’s very likely that parents and non-parents/non-staff will also not be on board. Your staff are also remarkably influential. They are the ones who get stopped at the Post Office, the grocery store, the basketball game and are asked about what’s going on at school. Do you know what they'd say if a community member asked them what the referendum is about? You need to.

If you’re like most districts, there’s a referendum in your near future. Every team member needs to know the district's overall game plan, priorities, and direction.


As we discussed in a previous post, nearly every staff survey item is up year over year. The largest increase? “The District is heading in the right direction.” However, two questions seem to be at the bottom for every district: 1) our school’s student discipline practices and policies are effective, and 2) our staff handles student discipline in a consistent manner.

We’ve reported staff survey results in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Minnesota, and Wisconsin over the last six months (to name just a few), and it’s broadly consistent. Is it the same for you?

Begin implementing your staff survey now by clicking here.


The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Bill Foster, President & Founder; Daren Sievers, Project Manager; and Rob DeMeuse, Research Director.


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