HR Basics

Here are some basic principles to remember when dealing with the human resources side of school leadership.

Choosing the best people for each job is the most important step in managing a school and accomplishing school-wide goals and initiatives. Principals should develop their own methods for advertising available positions, attracting highly qualified candidates, interviewing the candidates in a fair and consistent way, and making the best hiring decision for each position. Once the right people are in the building, principals can focus on training, development, and retention. For more information, check out this advice about hiring from Google


Training staff members for the job is very important. Each new employee should know job, school, and district expectations. They should have the opportunity to ask questions, received hands on training, and receive regular feedback to confirm or correct behaviors. When employees received quality training, they tend to have more confidence in their personal ability to complete the assigned tasks and take more pride in their work.


Professional development is important for all staff members, whether they have been working in a position for five months or five years. The keys to professional development is that it is relevant, timely, and positive. Employees should only be required to attend professional development that relates to their position in a meaningful way. For example, school leaders may choose to invite the custodial and lunchroom staff to the back to school goal setting meetings, but they should not be required to attend math intervention training. Professional development opportunities should be presented in a timely manner. If the training is related to testing, administrators should ensure that it is done before the testing begins and is provided in enough time for staff members to ask questions and collaborate about the information. The other component of providing timely development opportunities is making sure that time is respected. Presenters should make all necessary efforts to maximize their presentations so that staff members do not feel that any of their time is wasted. Ensuring that all professional development is positive is another component. Professional development is meant to inspire improvement in staff members. When one attempts to inspire, there is no room for negativity.


Retaining quality employees is more cost and time effective. Administrators who hire and retain the right people find their jobs as human resource managers to be more rewarding. Getting to know the members of the staff is the first step in retaining qualified staff. When school leaders know what makes staff members “tick” they can better serve them by providing the specialized support they need to be successful. An individualized approach to staff support illustrates the value that the school leaders place on each member of the staff. For more advice from a twelve-year veteran of human resources, check out the article at