Four years ago, I posted about the importance of saying “Thank You” to staff members who go above and beyond our normal expectations. It’s now three year’s later. Our economy has tanked. In just six months, my profession has gone from a huge teacher shortage to a teacher surplus due to budget deficits in the state budget that resulted in huge teacher layoffs.
With over 120 school systems in North Carolina announcing at least 100 layoff each and some announcing 700+ layoffs, a minimum of 120,000 teachers face unemployment. One would think that with that number of teachers who now don’t know how to pay their family bills, the ones who still have jobs would be overjoyed about their continued employment. Surprisingly, although thankful for their jobs, they still see their future threatened:
- Our governor took back one-half percent of all state employee pay retroactively, many times out of only one check. In other words, many teachers found their last check of the year $100 - $200 less than normal.
- A projected pay cut of 10% is being considered.
- Another plan being considered has the school year being cut by 5 days this coming year and 10 days the year thereafter. This means 5 – 10 days without pay.
- The state is raising the student to teacher ratio, meaning they will have more students per class.
- New anti-bullying legislation promises more responsibility, but comes with no funding.
- Taxes are promised to be raised.
- Money for instructional supplies has been slashed.
- Money for repairs and custodial items has been slashed.
- The “No Child Left Behind” requirements are still being raised.
In short, teachers are expected to do more and increase learning. They are to do this with more students, for less pay, fewer materials, in less time, and in rooms needing repairs.
In these poor economic times, administrators, including private sector managers, still need to understand that those still employed still need reassurance that they are valued and that their contributions mean something to the organization. Ways to tell employees, “Thank You”, are even more important now than four years ago when I wrote the original post. Not doing so could mean plummeting staff morale and less productivity.
What are you doing during this rough economic time to tell your employees that you value them?