I spent my day at a conference on high school dropout re-engagement
at a local college. It was really nice to have been asked to
participate on the panel and the day was thought provoking if not slightly frustrating.
In the US 7000 high school students dropout every day
Are you shocked? I have never brought this up here before because I
generally blog about the HR side of my job not the workforce
development side. Get ready for a ride with me.…… Here’s my
hypothesis (same as professional 2 cents), I think the reasons
students drop out of school and employees leave jobs are the same.
Employee disengagement &
student disengagement have the same root. Employees leave managers
and students leave teachers. They are bored, feel disrespected,
treated unfairly, unchallenged, patronized, lack rapport and have
personality conflicts. Both quit when they have seemingly
insurmountable problems with peers or when the environmental drama
People quit jobs when life gets in the way and they can’t figure
out how to stop it from interfering with attendance policies,
competing with mental and emotional real estate, family
obligations, etc. Students have the very same problems. They
sometimes have to assume the role of sibling or parental caretaker
and income earner. They have abusive families and significant
others and they become parents themselves sometimes.
Employees check out on the job and collect the check doing the
minimum to get by until they stop showing up physically too…
Others are performance managed out. it’s the same form many
So what’s the lesson?
We know that good
great companies, the ones with the hot employer brand, the ones
people line up for at the career fairs and and try to network with on
social media to get an “in” and have a candidate advantage — have
great retention, career paths and prestige. They have reputations
as innovative, fair, flexible and transparent. They give their
employees autonomy and accountability, do employee satisfaction
surveys and are prepared to hear the feedback — and act on it. They
treat their employees as internal customers.
What if schools did that?
What if schools were more HR like? What if their organizational
structure more closely mirrored (not that it does at all right now)
corporate training departments? What if high school kids were
treated a little more like adult learners?
Where are the work plans and clear expectations, team work and goal
attainment as an indicator of performance metrics? If students
have personal problems can’t they have something like personal LOA
or FMLA that doesn’t cause them to be held back?
Does it make sense to have disciplinary action that hurts
students by out of school suspension that puts them further behind?
Should school employees be allowed to verbally abuse students,
belittle and berate them?
Motivation is unique to the individual. That’s another thing top
employers understand. It’s not one size fits all.. shouldn’t
motivators be assessed, recognized and developed in elementary
school? It might be helpful to chart their learning and motivational
style in their records. The next teacher that gets them wouldn’t have
to reinvent the wheel.
Where is the S Sat Q12 survey? What forum or vehicle so students
really have to provide feedback about their experience? Where’s the
360? Report cards are a one dimensional performance review.
We all hate supervisors and systems that operate like that… They
never make employer of choice lists..
What’s your take?