Amid the Great Resignation, higher education is facing particularly high rates of employee burnout and possible attrition. But there are tangible ways college leaders can change workplace culture and increase worker retention, according to a new report from the American Council on Education.

Offer competitive pay, benefits and work schedules
One of the biggest concerns across the higher education sector is employee pay. The median salary increase for all higher ed professionals equaled less than half of the inflation rate in 2021-2022. And only 37% of higher education workers said their pay allows them to live the lifestyle they would like, per a survey from consultant Grant Thornton.

Don’t keep employees on call 24/7
With an increased shift to remote work, it can be tempting for managers to roll out new software and digital tools for collaboration. But many higher education employees are experiencing a technology overload, the report said, and being constantly available comes at the expense of both productivity and deep thinking.

Campus leaders should stick to email for written communication and reduce the use of chat programs like Slack or Microsoft Teams whenever possible, the ACE report said.

Value employees’ time
Managers should also consider limiting meetings and using them for brainstorming and idea creation rather than as tools for information sharing, the ACE report said. Some colleges have even instated meeting-free days.

By valuing employees’ time, the report said, colleges can help decrease the endless churn some workers feel after repeated time-intensive, low-productivity activities.

Read the full article about burnout in higher education by Laura Spitalniak at Higher Education Dive.