The need for early identification of potential leaders

Williams and Morey (2015) and Lacey (2003), identified that there is a five year window at the beginning of a teachers career to tap into leadership interest, without doing so, results in a 50% reduction in aspirants. The argument for earlier identification of potential leaders can be further bolstered by employment trends more generally.   The Australian HR Institute (2018) identified that one of the greatest retention factors for employees is career progression opportunities with 63.2% of employee departure contributed to a lack of progression opportunities. The education sector was one of the largest respondents to this research contributing to 12.05% of the findings.  While the Turnover and Retention Research Report, does not specifically discuss any occupation, it is clear that the level of turnover is perceived in majority as being far too high and slightly too high, especially as there is a significant turnover of employees in beginning stages of their career (40.6%) with 19.8% of turnover of all employees occurring in the 18-25yr old bracket and another 37% in the 26-35yr old bracket.   This is further supported by the findings of the Staff in Australia’s Schools Report (2013) which identified that up to 43.4% of early career teachers (1-3yrs) were unsure about continuing with the profession. Out of the remaining percentage who intended to remain beyond three years, only 1-2% had aspirations for leadership over the next three years.

Further to these findings, effective management and leadership is identified as one of the most effective methods to retain employees with 66.9% of respondents identifying this as the most effective, followed by positive workplace culture and opportunities for career progression.

We need to not only train our school leaders on how to be relational and identify talent, but create the space in schools for career progression.  This connects further back to the concepts of social exchange theory and reinforces the need for a strong Talent Management system.  However, if Talent Management is a critical component of employee retention, how do we counter the mediating effects of the profession as identified by Asplund (2019)?

Is an extension to our mentoring and induction programs for beginning teachers part of this process? In State Education in Queensland, beginning teachers are mentored for one year, should a formalisation of this process be extended out to five years, with the role of the school principal taking a lead in developing early career teachers and identifying the potential future leaders of the schooling system?



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