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Leadership Update - Jan. 2022

Earlier this month, I presented the State of the Workforce Annual Report to the board of education. The HR team has produced this report each year since 2017 to share data, analysis and insights on select workforce measures, with a primary goal of driving strategic workforce priorities. In this year’s report, we concluded two key themes characterize the state of our D49 workforce.

First, the report notes chronic staffing shortages remain our top workforce challenge. During the past 12 months, the average number of vacancies in D49 has remained constantly above 165. Simultaneously, the number of applicants per posting remains the lowest we’ve seen in 10 years across almost every job classification.

The second key theme is workforce fatigue. Based on the feedback staff provided in the VoW Annual Survey and VoW Learning Tours, we hear that staff fatigue is at or near burnout levels.  

These two key themes are clearly related. High stress and burnout are driving more workforce turnover. Increased turnover and low numbers of job applicants result in staff shortages.  Short staffing increases the burden on employees. None of this is news to many of you because you live it each day. 

How do we solve such big challenges?  We utilize multiple approaches including:

  • Creating full-time roving substitute positions by leadership in the POWER Zone to improve daily class coverage in their schools.
  • Coordinating a districtwide staff mental wellness event to kick off the new calendar year to help address staff fatigue.
  • Organizing our first-ever local D49 hiring event to reach local job seekers. This spring, we will host a job fair at one of our school locations.  Planned for Saturday, March 12, attendees will have opportunities to talk with staff from our schools, zones and departments, and possibly leave with a job offer in hand. 

The HR department is collaborating with the D49 communications team to promote the hiring event with traditional channels like emails, social media and advertising, but we need your help capitalizing on an effective tool: word-of-mouth advertising. More than ever before, we need to use every available avenue to grow our workforce. Will you partner with us to spread the word about the hiring fair?  Maybe share the event on your social media. Tell your neighbors and others in your spheres of influence about the event.

District 49 is a great place to learn, work and lead. Together, let’s make sure all friends, family and job seekers hear about the D49 hiring fair. More details will be coming soon!

Proud to serve our workforce family,

Paul Andersen,
Director of Human Resources