QoL Solutions Can Help Retain Teachers

By: Richard Hill
Feb 9, 2017 3:50 PM ET

Every year, about 13 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers transfer to different schools or leave the profession altogether, according to the Alliance for Excellence in Education in collaboration with the New Teacher Center. It’s estimated that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, with 40 to 50 percent of teachers quitting within five years.

This issue doesn’t just impact schools, it impacts the entire community, including parents, local companies, and other stakeholder groups. Teacher attrition costs state governments between $1 billion and $2.2 billion annually.

Experts attribute teacher attrition to inadequate teacher preparation, lack of work-life balance, dissatisfaction with compensation, better career opportunities and challenging working conditions.

With limited resources, local school districts don’t always have the awareness or means to address the issues that cause teachers to leave. But strategic partners and contracted service providers can help. Outside service providers can offer both the resources and expertise to improve teachers’ quality of life. For example, service providers can help schools improve workplaces and working conditions, offer benefits and services to help staff achieve better work-life balance, make workplace processes easier and more efficient to give teachers more time to focus on their students.

To improve quality of life for staff, services partners must first understand the unique challenges that teachers and school administrators face. (Many of Sodexo’s research insights on this topic can be found in our Workplace Trends Report.) For example, if a teacher has responsibilities outside of work—such as caring for an aging relative—it could impact their time, energy and finances. Offering in-home senior care services as part of a comprehensive benefits package can help take the burdens of care away and allow teachers to obtain personal balance. Alternatively, if a teacher feels overwhelmed by the demands of the first year of teaching, a program such as Sodexo’s Circles, which offers help with personal tasks like running errands, can improve work-life balance.

Service providers have the ability—and the responsibility—to improve teacher retention by by improving quality of life for teachers. This won’t just help the school districts we work for retain staff, it will help communities across the country thrive.

What other ways can we combat teacher attrition? Share your ideas in the comments section on Sodexo Insights.