Improving Retention in Education with Performance Evaluation Software

by Mike Tannian on May 12, 2023

Ready to improve employee retention in higher education & K–12? Leverage employee performance software to engage your staff and provide valuable feedback.

Article Highlights: 

Staff shortages in education existed before 2020, but the pandemic worsened the problem. In the wake of The Great Resignation, the education sector is now facing an unprecedented hiring and retention crisis.

What’s causing it? Here are a couple key factors.

The number graduates from teacher programs has been decreasing over the past decade, but the number leaving education has been on the rise. Though you can’t control the national narrative, you can make education at your institution a more attractive career path. This starts with culture, and culture drive retention.

In addition, faculty and staff face high levels of burnout and low morale. In a recent NEOED survey of 300+ education HR professionals, 59% said that burnout was the leading cause of turnover in the past two years. The same survey also identified the top two reasons for low morale: pay and work-life balance.

A healthy culture promotes work-life balance. It boosts morale and mitigates burnout. 

A strong culture consists of many things, but in this article, we’ll focus on how engaging employees and managing their performance can grow culture and improve retention at your school.

How Performance Management Impacts Retention

Why Retention is so Important in Education

Without a doubt, recruitment is important. Critical roles need to be filled. But why are there vacancies to begin with?

As we already discussed, high levels of turnover are caused by low morale and burnout. In other words, an unhealthy work culture. And remember, culture drives retention.

Staff shortages need to be perceived as a retention issue more than a recruitment issue. Recruitment addresses the symptom (vacancies), but retention addresses the root cause (turnover). Ready to improve employee retention in higher education and K–12?

The Impact of Performance Management

Education HR can achieve higher retention rates by improving performance management and employee engagement. These two elements are closely connected. 

Performance management involves strategic goal-setting and alignment, tracking employee performance, and identifying your team’s strengths and weaknesses for further development. The result? It helps them understand their value and drives a more uniform, motivated, and productive workforce.

Performance management keeps employees engaged in your school’s mission and culture. It helps them connect the dots between their work and organizational goals, making them more invested in the bigger picture. 

Engaged employees also perform better and feel more successful in their work, leading to job satisfaction. And job satisfaction leads to higher retention. 

Retention comes with the added benefit of saving money. According to SHRM, each employee departure costs about one third of that person’s annual pay. If you don’t have to replace churned employees, you save on hiring and onboarding costs.

Sound appealing? It all starts with employee performance management software for higher education and K–12.

Benefits of Performance Evaluation Software

Effective performance management starts with employee performance evaluation software. Leveraging technology streamlines your review processes for improved productivity, effectiveness, and collaboration.

Performance software lets employees see their goals, as well as how their goals relate to the broader team and organization. Employees can track their KPIs and self-adjust to get back on track. 

Performance-tracking software lets managers track progress, leave consistent feedback, and identify when employees are falling short or exceeding expectations. You can automate workflows, notifications, and reviews, and since all data is stored in one central location, you can stay keep tabs on employee progress.

Employees can easily enter information into the software as they progress, and you can compile performance reports in the system with just a few clicks. This saves time and reduces the stress of wrangling everyone’s information together just before quarterly or annual reviews.

Despite each of the benefits above, perhaps the biggest advantage comes from performance software built for the unique needs of higher education and K–12.

An Education-Focused Solution

Perform by NEOGOV is an employee performance solution that helps education institutions implement comprehensive performance management, generate performance reports and analytics, and provide continuous constructive feedback. 

Using education HR software like Perform, your employees will stay informed about their performance expectations and outputs year-round, rather than waiting for annual reviews and manager feedback to see if they’re meeting standards. Supervisors can make comments directly in the platform at any time, allowing employees to immediately make changes and leaving documentation that you can refer back to during your performance appraisals.

Elements of Effective Performance Management

Performance tools help you make strategic improvements and amplify the success of your school and workforce. When searching for an employee performance management solution, try to find one that includes most or all of the functionality below. 

Goal Management

According to NEOGOV data, employees with at least one goal on their performance evaluation are 25% more likely, on average, to stay at their job. Why? When employees have specific targets, they are more engaged in their jobs, especially when they understand how their targets impact organizational goals. So in addition to setting goals, you need to make sure employee goals are aligned with institutional goals.

Performance Reviews

Performance software can also enforce regular performance reviews. Reviews should be conducted on a quarterly or monthly basis, not just annually, to assess employees' progress towards their goals and to provide feedback on their performance. 

NEOGOV data revealed that quarterly feedback can increase retention by 19% on average. The data demonstrates that employees want constructive feedback, engagement from their manager, and opportunities to succeed and grow in their career.

360-degree Feedback

Some systems allow you to solicit 360-degree feedback. This allows a manager to receive feedback from all of her direct reports, or an employee to receive feedback from his coworkers, even coworkers across departments who he regularly works with. This anonymous feedback gives managers a more comprehensive view of an individual’s soft and hard skills.

Performance Improvement Plans

If an employee isn’t meeting expectations, a performance improvement plan (PIP) can help them grow in the necessary skills. The PIP should include specific goals and timelines, as well as support and resources to help the employee meet their goals.

Performance Analytics

Performance analytics and reports help you track performance across the organization and equip you to make data-driven decisions. Quantifying your employees’ work shows its impact, letting you report on progress at an individual, department, or organizational level.

Show Employees Their Value

Implementing the practices above shows employees they bring value to the organization. It helps them feel appreciated and supported, which increases their job satisfaction. 

Keeping employees happy is vital to keeping them connected to your greater purpose and motivated to achieve your goals. Employee engagement improves performance and productivity, and in the end, increases employee retention in higher education and K–12.

Final Thoughts

Performance management and employee engagement go hand in hand. Not only that, they can positively impact culture and retention, creating more loyal and motivated employees.

Education HR software like Perform will help you do this more efficiently and effectively. Your employees will be more likely to accomplish their goals, grow in their careers, and stay longer at your school.

If you’re ready to build a culture of quality performance and increase retention efforts, learn how you can improve strategic alignment between employee and organizational goals.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Director of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value to public sector HR professionals at every stage in the buying journey.