As I was working out at gym, I watched a member go to the front desk and ask if they could cancel their membership. The person working the front desk, obviously instructed to do this, told the member that they would have to talk to a “sales specialist” before they could actually cancel their membership. This was obviously a last ditch opportunity to get as much money as they could from this person, and since no sales assistant was available, she had to come back another day to cancel her membership.
I thought about how terrible this process was and what it would mean long term for the company. Yes, they would probably squeeze another month out of the person and receive 60 dollars, but long term, she would probably complain to her friends about how poorly the company was run and how they were ultimately focused on the bottom line as opposed to people. Making a little money now might lead to a large loss later. Word of mouth is crucial to organizations.
Comparatively, I have seen this done with great teachers. I know of one who was in a situation where they received a new job only a few days after the division negotiated deadline to give notice for the next school year. Instead of letting the person take another job that they wanted, they really pushed the person to stay another year because they knew they had a skill set that would be hard to replace.
Does this make sense? Should you make a teacher stay in a position they want to leave and have them resentful for another year? Luckily for that teacher, they found a job the following year and they had a much better fit professionally and personally, but the damage was done on what they thought of the organization. Instead of pushing people to get better, it seemed they focused on holding them back.
My philosophy that I learned working with Parkland School Division is that you never hold a person back from their dreams. In fact, you encourage them to pursue them. In my first year as a teacher, I was offered a job as an assistant principal late into July, and although I could have technically been told that I was not able to break the contract, my principal encourage me to take the position and assured me that she would find someone great. This treatment of myself made me only speak highly of the organization and how they treated me and it was something that I focused on as an administrator. Sometimes you have to let your best people leave to encourage their dreams, but that treatment will only encourage more great people to want to be a part of your organization. I would much rather have an amazing educator in my school for two years than an average one for fifteen.