Flight or Fight

Submitted By:
Davidson R. Hobson, Gaston Day School, Gastonia, NC

"Great Attrition" or "Great Attraction"? The choice is yours by Aaron De Smet, Bonnie Dowling, Marino Mugayar-Baldocchi, and Bill Schaninger
McKinsey Quarterly, September 1, 2021

During the previous academic year, many schools experienced higher than normal faculty turnover. Now that the adrenaline from a new school year has worn off, some faculty who didn't leave wish they had. As teachers contemplate other options – including new attractive and flexible options in other industries – and administrators brace for more turnover, this article and a study by McKinsey & Company offer promise in the midst of an uncertain employment forecast. By including broad global and industry perspective, and including education, the article provides great insight into why many employees feel burned out and discouraged. The peak of teacher resignations has likely not been reached. The authors warn that "even among educators – the employees least likely to say they may quit – almost one-third reported that they are at least somewhat likely to do so." How administrators listen and how they respond can greatly affect turnover. Hiding within the great resignation, in fact, is an opportunity to connect with faculty and to help them re-engage with school missions. School leaders who are able to listen effectively and respond accordingly may find an opportunity for competitive advantage. At the very least, discussions generated from this research will be helpful as leaders respond to employee engagement in a rapidly changing educational environment.

Leadership Practice