How do we find the best employees and keep them? - Fisher Leadership

How do we find the best employees and keep them?

Insights from Dale Bracegirdle

Partner, Learning & Development at CLA

When we think about inspiring loyalty in our team members, the critical thinking we need to do comes under the banner of engagement and our role in understanding and creating the environment for engagement to thrive. ​

​This is not a new concept, engagement is measured broadly on the assumption that staff members who are more engaged are less likely to quit. But are we clear on the key drivers of engagement? Do we practice the leadership behaviours that will inspire people to be loyal?

Employee engagement, especially in the educational sector is paramount as it directly impacts both student outcomes and overall institutional outcomes. Engaged educators are more committed, more effective, and more likely to remain with their institution. But what are some of the key drivers of engagement in the educational sector?

  1. Purpose-driven work: Dan Pink discusses self determination theory. This involves purpose, autonomy and motivation being at the cornerstone of what motivates people. The main goal of education is to nurture the minds and development of our future generations. It is important to consistently communicate this purpose to help staff understand how their daily work contributes to the bigger picture. A sense of purpose in their work can lead to increased motivation and engagement.
  2. Opportunities for growth and development: Facilitating professional growth is critical for maintaining engagement. This includes Investing in professional development programs, creating mentorship opportunities, and fostering a culture that supports continuous learning to drive engagement. What is our desired outcome when it comes to our people? Is it that they comply with the brief and their PD and hit their KPIs? Are their KPIs taking them to a place they didn’t think was possible for them? Or keeping them at a level they are comfortably performing at?
  3.  Recognition and rewards: Acknowledging and rewarding employees for their dedication and accomplishments can significantly boost engagement. Formal and informal recognition programs, as well as competitive salaries and benefits, also work towards driving engagement.
  4. Collaboration and support: Cultivating a supportive and collaborative work environment is key to employee engagement. Encouraging open communication, teamwork, and mutual support, and ensuring that employees feel valued and included in decision-making processes drive engagement.

Where are you doing this well and where are there opportunities for improvement? Are we demonstrating the emotional agility to see things from the employee perspective?

To see things from the employee perspective means building a Compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Understanding the mechanisms of the EVP will help you attract the best people in the first place which is key.

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) represents the unique attributes, benefits, and opportunities that an institution offers its employees in exchange for their commitment and performance. In the education sector, a strong EVP is particularly important for attracting and retaining top talent. When thinking about building an attracting EVP, the following factors should be considered:

  • A strong organisational culture: Establish a positive, inclusive, and supportive culture that encourages collaboration, innovation, and continuous learning.
  • Professional development and growth opportunities: Offering opportunities for professional growth and development is vital for maintaining engagement and differentiating your institution from its competitors. Consider intrinsic incentives, what else motivates people? Can you offer other courses like Masters? Harvard and Exec Ed courses?  
  • Giving people agency: Can employees choose the areas of professional learning they are most committed to?
  • Think about talking L&D too: The benefits of learning together through structured programs (cohort learning, small group, and peer learning, individual and 1-1 learning).
  • Work-life balance: Support your employees in managing their personal and professional lives by offering flexible work arrangements, generous leave policies, and resources for stress management and mental health.​
  • Competitive compensation and benefits: Offer competitive salaries and benefits packages, including healthcare, retirement plans, tuition assistance, flexible work schedules, and wellness programs.​

Do the work with comms and marketing to get this nailed, to have it really succinct and clear so that you can be shouting it from the rooftops. 

And then you must do the work to live up to it!

Get in touch with us to plan your next leadership development program.

There has never been a more important time to focus on enterprise talent management and executive team development to drive a high-performance culture. I am grateful to hold a unique perspective on culture and engagement, with a career spanning consulting expertise, operational experience working in multi-national organisations, through to roles in the fast-growing start-up environment. I love complexity, and am excited about the convergence of leadership, technology and the potential ways of working that result from this convergence.

Dale Bracegirdle

Partner, Leadership Development, Fisher Leadership


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