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Shift 3

Design comprehensive human capital management systems.

The term “total rewards” encompasses compensation along with all forms of financial and experiential incentives, rewards, and benefits provided to employees. While base salaries tend to receive a disproportionate amount of attention, other forms of compensation and benefits are often overlooked. By adopting a broader perspective, PK-20 stakeholders can assemble a portfolio of offerings aligned with the needs and desires of prospective candidates and current educators. 


High-Level Recommendations

Employee-Centered Total Rewards Strategy

Align total rewards with employee wants and needs, including access to competitive wages, growth opportunities, and physical and mental health supports. 

Funding & Policy Flexibility

 Increase funding allocations and policy flexibility related to personnel budget expenditures.


Ensure employees are aware of and utilizing total rewards offerings. Communicate offerings through your employee value proposition (EVP).

Pay Equity

Monitor systems, structures, and processes to ensure internal and external pay equity.

Flexible Staffing

Support work-life integration by exploring flexible or non-traditional work arrangements (e.g., flex schedules, work from home, combining part-time roles).

Incentives for Education Careers

Offer incentives to individuals working in education (e.g., student loan forgiveness, tax incentives, housing assistance, and other perks).

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The top priorities for Gen Z and Millennials when selecting an employer are work-life balance and learning and development opportunities.

Furthermore, more than 60% expressed a preference for a hybrid work arrangement that would allow them to split time between remote and on-site work.

Promising Practices

The following examples are shared strategies and practices that are working to address the educator shortage. Partnerships between PK-12, higher education and Departments of Education and Labor were encouraged. To read summaries of all Promising Practices, please click the button below.

Sample Stakeholder Actions

Flexible Staffing Models

  • Highlight best practices and lessons learned from implementing flexible work arrangements in Federal agencies under the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (TEA). Envision and communicate how telework best practices could be applied in the education sector.

Funding & Policy Flexibility

  • Support states and local education agencies through funding and programming to understand, design, and maintain comprehensive and transparent total rewards systems.

Pay Equity

  • Provide technical assistance to help education organizations understand and implement equitable and compliant total rewards practices.

Incentives for Education Careers

  • Make educator college student loan or alternative preparation program debt forgiveness easier to attain and/or increase the forgiveness amounts.

  • Provide more extensive tax incentives for full-time, part-time, and/or substitute educators. 

- Highlighted Promising Practice -

Employee-Centered Total Rewards Strategy

Lamers Bus Lines highlights total rewards available to one of its target demographics for filling school bus driver positions—parents. The organization offers a child ride-along program that enables parents who drive a school bus to avoid daycare expenses. Other benefits include the opportunity to be compensated for driving a bus to their child’s extra-curricular activities, to be off work on snow days and other school holidays with their children, and to be more involved in their child’s education.

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