Improving Your HR Practices, One Step at a Time

Vol. 11 No. 9


As the school year comes to a close, after (hopefully) a short breather, you’ll be back at your desk, working on all the improvements you’d like to put in place next year. We have three words of advice and encouragement: “Keep it simple.” And maybe three more: “Don’t get overwhelmed.” This is easier said than done, of course—if, like many of us, you have a “Type-A” personality and strive to do as much as physically possible every given day (and it always seems like there are tons of things to do and improve). We’d like to share a few words of advice that we hope will help you.

There are two approaches you may wish to consider.

  • Approach #1: Focus on one aspect of HR (e.g., hiring process, orientation/induction, performance evaluation, etc.) and strive to improve that function as much as possible—before moving on to the next function next summer.
  • Approach #2: Try to improve one thing about each HR process you utilize. By the time August arrives, you’ll realize that your practices have come a long way from where you began.

Both of these approaches are fine ways to get a lot done this summer. To add variety, here are some thoughts to help you if you go down the path of Approach #2. Remember, choose only one action within each topic (and a small one at that)—otherwise, you’ll be overwhelmed and may become paralyzed and unable to accomplish much of anything.

Hiring Process

  • You can research and choose a new, more timely screening vendor.
  • You can plan an interviewing class, to help new administrators or Department Chairs learn about and develop necessary interviewing skills.

Induction Process

  • You can identify culture-leaders in the faculty and ask them to work with you this school year to plan a new, year-long induction program.
  • You can begin talking with the Head about the need for a year-long Induction calendar of events.

Performance Evaluation

  • You can research and purchase a training video that will help administrators enhance their performance coaching and mentoring skills.

Professional Development (Growth and Renewal)

  • You can work with the Department Chairs to ensure that they are aware of all of the growth opportunities that the school supports and can afford.
  • You can work with department chairs to help them see how performance evaluations link to—and can spur—professional development needs.


  • You can begin analyzing staff salaries against those for comparable positions in the local labor market by obtaining local salary surveys (such as for administrative assistants, kitchen workers, etc.).

Corrective Action

  • You can develop a 30-minute “lunch and learn” brown bag session for department chairs to help them practice and role-play delivering a warning message.


As a favored saying of the British in World War II went, “Keep calm and carry on.” That is to say, if you make even one small improvement in each area (or even a few areas) this summer, by the start of the new term, you’ll be able to begin implementing and seeing the fruits of your improvements. Keep heart, hang in there—we wish you the very best as you continue on this exciting journey!

Additional ISM articles of interest
ISM Monthly Update for School Heads Vol. 10 No. 7 Characteristics (of Professional Excellence) Aren’t Just for Hiring
ISM Monthly Update for Division Heads Vol. 10 No. 9 Hiring New Teachers … and Managing Their Performance
Private School News Vol. 9 No. 7 Employee Handbook Fixes You Can Make in a Jiffy (and Those That You Shouldn’t)
ISM Monthly Update for Human Resources Vol. 10 No. 9 HR’s Role in Induction (Hint: It’s About More Than Giving a Benefits Overview)
ISM Monthly Update for Human Resources Vol. 10 No. 8 Re-Designing Your Teacher Evaluation Process

Additional ISM articles of interest for Gold Consortium members
I&P Vol. 32 No. 6 Review Your Employee Handbook: Protect Your School and Promote Your Culture
I&P Vol. 37 No. 13 Teacher Induction That Supports and Inspires

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