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Everyone Is Valuable

Your employees have more to give and will look forward to giving more without a pay increase but it depends on how you treat them.

In broad terms, people can be divided into two groups.  Passionate people, like you, are in one group.  These people are anxious to get to work in the morning and slow to leave at night.  The other group consists of those who work for a paycheck.  Most people (employees and volunteers, including board members) are in group one when they start with a parochial school. Whether they stay in group one is up to you.

Those in group two are working for a paycheck because it is the only way they can find value in their work.  For a variety of reasons, they feel like their work is dull, ordinary, undervalued, meaningless, or unimportant.  Therefore, instead of valuing themselves based upon their contribution, they value themselves based upon the size of their paycheck, title, or where they work, etc.  Even some very highly compensated people can feel this way.

It is possible to have everyone in your school in group one.  You and I know that every job at your school is important, meaningful, and valuable.  It is hard to imagine a parochial school that can afford to pay someone to do unimportant or meaningless work.  So start by only recruiting people who believe what they will be doing is important, meaningful, and valuable.  Good leaders (supervisors, managers, principals, and board members) promote the importance and value of every job.

Those who are passionate about their work find it engaging, challenging, important, and fulfilling.  They also feel their work helps them to grow, serve a purpose they think is important, gain a sense of fulfillment from their work and accomplishments, and use their ingenuity and creativity (be unique). Unfortunately, those in group two are unable to perceive their jobs that way, sometimes because of the way their work is structured or was explained to them.

We are all well aware that everything around us is changing.  However, it is easy to overlook the need to change some jobs within an organization because the need for change is greater somewhere else.  When this happens, the organization declines a little in sustainability and relevance because of the lack of evolution.  At the same time, the stagnant job becomes less relevant and valuable, which by extension means the person in the job can begin to feel less valuable and relevant.  As a result, someone becomes one step closer to joining group two.

Passionate people find fulfillment in their jobs.  Providing them with the professional development that helps them do more of what they want to do can be a great reward for them.  It also increases their value to your school, which makes it a win-win.

Next Step:

Ensure new hires are as passionate as you are

Look for ways to change the perception of your employees who have a below-average level of enthusiasm for their work

Remind the leaders in your school that they have an obligation to make everyone feel valued and important to the mission and students

Do everything you can to protect the investment you have made in hiring and training your employees

Hiring those who love what they do is an important part of hiring the right people.  Sustaining that love is part of your responsibility.  They will find it impossible to love their job if they perceive that it has become or is becoming irrelevant, meaningless, or unimportant.

Hiring the right people is hard work.  Sustaining their love of the work they do takes less work than hiring their replacement.  In addition, their hard work, valuable contributions, and commitment are the dividends you will receive when you sustain their love of the job.  Their continued relevance and value as well as their perception of their relevance, value, and importance all contribute to the long-term sustainability of your mission.

Take It Further:

Encourage your board to help you convey the importance (importance to the mission and wellbeing of the students) of every job in your school

Encourage your board chair to help each board member feel their contribution and participation is valuable and valued, which will increase board member engagement

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