Results of SDMA Stay Interviews

Results of SDMA Stay Interviews
Posted on 01/14/2016

Over the last several weeks, district leaders conducted "Stay Interviews" with employees from various employment classifications within the School District of the Menomonie Area.  These voluntary interviews were meant be an inclusive way for school employees to share information that could help the district retain our best staff members.  Anyone wanting to help inform this effort was given the opportunity to meet with either me or a member of the administrative team.

As the candidate pool for some positions continues to shrink, many school districts and other organizations are making greater efforts to recruit new employees.  While our school district has increased some of our recruiting efforts, the school board and district leadership team in the SDMA also think that it is extremely important to consider what we can do to retain our most valued employees who are already here.

While each “Stay Interview” included some unique information, the results of the interviews have been interpreted into the following summary:

Many of the employees that were interviewed commented on the positive impact that the Menomonie community had on their desire to work in the school district.  The size, location, and demographics, as well as the connection to the university and business community, were just some of the attributes discussed that make Menomonie a great place in which to work and live. The reputation of the school district, connections to friends and family, a good family-friendly work environment/schedule, and an attractive compensation package were additional reasons listed for why current employees chose to apply and accept a position in the SDMA.

When asked about job satisfaction, employees identified the enjoyment gained in working with children, close connections with colleagues and the community, satisfaction with their position, and the support provided by administration, parents, and the community as major factors for why they still choose to work in the SDMA.  Most employees also mentioned something about the great satisfaction that they have working in their particular building with specific colleagues, leaders, demographics, and culture.

When asked to rank their happiness working in the SDMA on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, it was very encouraging to hear that nearly all interviewed employees rated their happiness toward the very top end of the scale.  Several employees cited politics and some negative press at the state and national levels as reasons why they were not 100% happy working in their position, but most felt that those concerns were beyond the school district’s control.

The most concerning or frustrating parts of working in the SDMA included concerns about being stretched too thin, comments about a small minority of staff who sometimes negatively impact the climate of the organization, budgetary limitations, and frustrations with some changes brought on by outside influences.  While most of the employees interviewed had not considered leaving their position for a different school district, a few people shared thoughts that they previously had about moving to a different building in the SDMA or considering a different career outside of public education.

Several employees mentioned the importance of professional development and communication in the school district.  In addition to expressing thanks for the wonderful opportunities that our school district already provides, some employees suggested that the district could do a better job differentiating PD opportunities for those in specialist positions.  Providing more opportunities and time for collaboration with colleagues was another common suggestion, but generally, employees were happy with communication in the school district.  Some even expressed great appreciation for the efforts that the district has taken to increase transparency and the sharing of information related to district-level issues and decisions.

Generally, the SDMA employees who participated in “Stay Interviews” were quite happy working in the school district and many expressed pride and satisfaction with what is being accomplished in our schools.  A few people mentioned how much they enjoy how our school district stays ahead of the curve with new initiatives, and one person even mentioned how they love how professionals in the school district are using social media and Twitter.  They felt that the expanded use of Twitter in the SDMA makes them feel very connected to colleagues and that is has really helped them grow professionally.

When asked for suggestions for the recruitment and retainment of staff in the SDMA, employees felt that it was important to maintain competitive compensation and benefits, continue to prioritize professional development and communication, and to support staff members in their quest to meet clear and consistent expectations.  Overall, the participants in these “Stay Interviews” provided a message that was quite encouraging about both the current state and the future of our school district.

Should school stakeholders have any questions about our school district, or suggestions for how we should continue to recruit and retain a top notch staff, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (