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Human Capital Management

Building a Thriving Education Workforce: Strategies to Attract and Retain Great People

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We had a fabulous time at AASPA’s 85th annual conference in Anaheim! From catching up with district leaders to co-sponsoring the DE&I reception, we certainly feel “powered-up” after a week of interactive discussions and events.
If you had a chance to attend Frontline’s presentation, this blog post will serve as a refresher, but if you couldn’t make it or you’re just interested to learn more about some of the learnings we shared at the conference, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Mitchell Welch, Principal Solution Consultant at Frontline Education, and Debbie Simons, Chief Human Resources Officer at Northwest Regional ESD teamed up to provide valuable insights, practical tips, and actionable takeaways to transform K-12 HR practices.
Read on to hear more from these experts and the main takeaways from their conversation.

Hear from Mitchell:

The common challenges districts face

In K-12 HR, there are several common challenges that districts may face.

  • Paper spreadsheets and siloed experiences: Many districts still rely on manual processes, such as paper spreadsheets, which lead to inefficiencies and siloed data.
  • Inconsistent employee experience: It can be challenging when it comes to ensuring a consistent experience for all staff members.
  • Inconsistent processes: The lack of standardized processes can lead to errors in HR management.
  • Lack of reporting on trends: Without comprehensive data and reporting capabilities, districts may struggle to identify and respond to trends in their workforce.


It’s really important that we focus on a great employee experience for our staff members because of the challenges that are currently facing public education

AnJie Doll, Director of Human Resources


How do you overcome these challenges?

To overcome these challenges, Mitchell emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to Human Capital Management (HCM). Ultimately, this approach involves attracting, engaging, developing, and retaining top talent across your district!

Here’s how to make it happen:

Step 1: Employ the “Oversight, Insight, Foresight” Strategy

  1. Oversight: strategically plan and manage your organization
    How does Oversight translate to K-12 HR? –> Position and vacancy visibility.
  2. Insight: day-to-day tasks to engage, develop and retain talent
    How does Insight translate to K-12 HR? –> Proactive recruitment, centralized onboarding, and a professional growth journey.
  3. Foresight: increase efficiency, productivity, and performance
    How does Foresight translate to HR? –> Managing your people through predictive data.


Step 2: Implement a System of Record that Empowers Your District to Manage the Employee Experience

Simply put, your system of record should be able to:

  • Make data entry and reporting be easy, accurate, and available on-demand.
  • Provide intuitive and easy navigation for all stakeholders.
  • Manage the employee lifecycle from interview to hiring and onboarding, all the way through retention.
  • Provide position and vacancy visibility through effective dating and workflows.
  • Create an onboarding process that sets up all employees for success.
  • Automate that paperwork that takes hours to complete.


Hear from Debbie:

Debbie Simons shared her journey at the Northwest Regional Educational Service District (ESD), providing a real-life example of overcoming HR challenges. Here’s a snapshot:
Where they were in 2021/2022:

  • Data was inconsistent, and there was a lack of processes for updating information.
  • Finance office drove HRIS information setup, and individual admins wrote job descriptions.
  • Employee data was scattered across individual spreadsheets.
  • Data integrity was a concern, and supervisors were unsure of when people worked.
  • The recommendation to hire was often accepted, but the offer took weeks, sometimes over a month.
  • Frequent payroll errors added to these challenges.

Where they are now:

After implementing a system of record that allowed the district to manage the entire employee experience (from hire to retire), Northwest ESD is able to:

  • Finalize hires 24-48 hours.
  • Automate forms and paperwork which reside in a single system.
  • Automate evaluation processes based on contract status.



Ready to implement a strategic Human Capital Management system in your district? Learn more here.