5 Things Employers Want Schools to Know

A few years ago I wrote a blog at the start of the school year on what working parents want schools to know. This year, I am following up with a “Back to School” post from an
employer’s perspective. My kids are going into 7th grade and 10th grade, and I often find myself wondering what kinds of employees, leaders and CEOs (no pressure, kids) they will make. I am grateful they spend their day with passionate, thoughtful and talented teachers. Their future employers and employees will appreciate it too one day!

Below are a few tips and thoughts for schools and educators as they kick off the school year, from a future employer’s perspective.


There is not a rubric for “client presentation” or “budget review.” Sure, examples and templates can be found with a quick Google search, but the most rewarding work involves figuring something out yourself, not following someone else’s instructions. Rubrics are helpful for grading and development purposes, but please steer students away from a “fill-in-the-blank” approach to their work.

Foster curiosity, creativity and passion. It is these traits that differentiate employees in how they tackle challenges and take on new opportunities in their careers. Nobody wants to work with or for someone who is bored, dull and willing to accept the status quo.

Communication skills make businesses work and business people successful. Writing and speaking while using proper grammar and clear sentence structure are critical skills for sharing ideas, generating excitement, developing relationships and articulating a point-of-view.

Encourage and accept different ways of thinking about the world and its problems. Companies will always be working to diversify their workforces and create more inclusive environments. As the distances between cultures and communities shrink through technology, the people who have a strong appreciation for the perspectives and gifts of others will have more rewarding and fun careers.

Support the development of social and emotional intelligence in students. Successful leaders today need self-awareness of their own emotions and empathy for the emotions of their colleagues to relate well to others. Memorized facts and dates don’t make people feel good about the work they are doing; emotionally intelligent leaders do.


Employees today and in the future need the abilities to think, reason, relate, analyze, communicate, negotiate and inspire. Employers today and in the future appreciate the schools and educators tasked with developing these skills in students. Thank you, and have a wonderful school year!

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Heather Nelson is a partner with PeopleResults. She is passionate about good schools, talented teachers and happy, engaged students. She can be reached at hnelson@people-results.com or on Twitter at @HeatherGNelson1. Sign up to receive the PeopleResults blog at #Current.