Beyond Employee Surveys
Want to Retain IT Staff? Start with Stay Interviews by Robert Sidford and Dr. Lisa Gonzales
Tech & Learning, February 16, 2023
"Why wait until great staff leave to find out how we can motivate them to stay?" Focused particularly on school technology staff, authors Robert Sidford and Dr. Lisa Gonzales note that understaffed tech teams not only impact the smooth operations of the school but also directly affect teaching and learning support when teachers encounter tech issues that can't be addressed promptly. One solution the authors put forth is the "stay interview." Modeled on the traditional exit interview, this human-centered design process seeks to uncover data that can reveal positive factors currently supporting job satisfaction, pain points where interventions could help lead to higher retention among employees, and ways that schools can recruit and retain tech staff from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in tech fields. The authors share the "stay interview" experience of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, including their process, interview questions, findings, and recommended best practices. While the article cites an example from a large, public school district, independent schools can tailor a "stay interview" experience to their own communities. Whether seeking to retain teachers, technology teams, or other operational staff, school leaders can apply these listening and design exercises to move beyond employee surveys and find new insights to build and retain strong faculty and staff teams.