attract and retain strategic plan

The heart and soul of a school are its people, so the Attract and Retain pillar is particularly urgent and essential in today’s labor and education market. We have learned a lot from our Strategic Plan Data Dashboards about current demographic and employment trends since they launched last year, and we are beginning to integrate these data into our processes to understand how we can improve how we attract and retain employees to Overlake. It is common knowledge that global economies have been volatile in recent years, and with them, labor markets. We are not immune to these effects and are still witnessing the fallout from the “Great Resignation” and the after-effects of COVID-19 on the labor market, not to mention historic inflation and wage growth. When we launched the Strategic Plan in the 20-21 school year, we knew that this was a focus, and the past few years have given renewed urgency to the work. 

Beginning in 2022, the school engaged Compensation Connections to benchmark the school’s salary and benefits packages. From that review, we learned that our benefits package is highly competitive, with special mention of our retirement offerings. Those unfamiliar with schools may not know that compensating our employees constitutes about 75% of our annual operating budget, so adapting our compensation structure is significant. This partnership resulted in a new salary scale for our faculty benchmarked against publicly available data from three local public school districts: Lake Washington, Bellevue, and Northshore. For our administrative and support staff, supervisors and HR reviewed every job description to benchmark each job description against similar jobs in similar organizations. That work created wage bands for all staff positions at the school to provide transparency for current staff and pave the way for a new state requirement on January 1, 2023, to share transparent salary ranges in new job postings. We will continue to work with a consultant bi-annually to ensure alignment of our salaries and benefits with the broader market to ensure we can attract and retain top talent. 

Doing this work means building the people power to evolve our HR program to support our employees. To do so, we have expanded our HR presence with dedicated roles of Director of HR and HR/Payroll Coordinator. In addition to our retention dashboard, our Employee and Student Demographic Strategic Plan Dashboards enables transparent tools to monitor hiring, diversity, and retention trends. Our HR office continues to systematize our hiring and retention processes, including establishing hiring policy standards, developing a “stay interview” guide (as opposed to only interviewing “exiting” employees), continuing to refine our annual Employee Engagement Survey to measure our success from what our employees say about their engagement with the school, and finally strengthening feedback loops from new hires and current and exiting employees.  

This year, we are excited to continue this work to ensure the best possible experience for our employees and, in turn, our students. We know that our strength lies in our employees' well-being, engagement, ongoing learning, and feelings of support, and we are dedicated to ensuring that we do everything we can for our employees. Finally, as the school continues to experience natural attrition in our employee body, we can always use more recruiters on the outside from readers like you! Learn more about career opportunities at Overlake at http://overlake.jobs

The Attract & Retain strategic plan pillar is led by Overlake's Director of HR & Controller, Sean Clark.