As a studio owner you wear many hats (well, maybe more like tiaras and feathers). Chances are you teach, run the office, organize costume orders and perform other administrative tasks to help your business flourish. Sometimes, the to-do list can get so long it seems like there must be some secret to getting it all done. Well, truth is, there’s no real “secret.”
But your teaching staff play an important part in making your studio a success. They inspire and teach your students and help you ensure your studio stays afloat. Attracting and retaining amazing teachers is how you can ensure longevity for your studio. Here are a few tips to help you attract and retain top teacher talent.
Build Your Network: The first step is looking to your network to find talent—a former classmate or teacher, or even a former student who has grown into a skilled dancer that can teach. Additionally, local university dance programs are filled with talent who are looking to get more experience. You can also use online tools, such as DanceTeacherFinder.com, the LinkedIn of dance teachers, where studios post job openings and dancers apply to teaching jobs. Try to develop a bench of teachers with different specialties to allow flexibility in class offerings as your studio continues to grow.
Deepen Relationships: Once you have hired your staff, you must put effort into making them feel at home in your studio. Though contracts can help encourage commitment and deter student poaching, there are other ways to inspire loyalty among your staff: empowerment and flexibility.
Empower your teachers and provide them with flexibility to do their jobs in their personal style. By giving dance teachers creative liberty to choose the music, choreography and costumes for each of their classes, you prove that you trust their talent and ability to take the lead with your business, while also relieving yourself of some of the workload. Letting them take creative risks will inspire them to continue to think outside of the box and be excited to show up to work every day to practice their passion.
Make sure your teachers feel like they have a voice in the studio by getting their input on policies and class offerings. For example, if your studio enforces a dress code, allow your teachers a say in classwear.
Additionally, help promote their classes by posting photos and videos through the studio’s social channels (as well as sharing your teacher’s posts about their classes). Engaging on social media with teachers -- as well as students and their parents-- can help strengthen the community feeling they’re building during class time. You can also foster a sense of community by getting your studio involved in local performance opportunities and events outside of the studio.
Retain Top Teacher Talent: In order to retain your talent, it is important to show your teachers you value them. Be transparent with business decisions that may impact them. Hold quarterly meetings, or “State of the Studios,” to discuss accomplishments, challenges and growth opportunities. While it may feel impossible to keep everyone happy all the time, having an open-door policy and encouraging communication with your teachers (as well as students and parents) is a step in the right direction.
Recognize their hard work. Encourage teachers to promote their own classes and provide incentives such as referral bonuses for recommended students and other teachers.
Additionally, if teachers have other business interests besides teaching, provide them with an outlet to explore them. For example, if they have an interest in marketing, let them own the studio’s social media channels. Or if their passion lies in event planning, give them the opportunity to help coordinate recital logistics. You can also invest in their futures by letting teachers attend professional development opportunities, such as conferences like Dance Teacher Summit.
Teachers are on the front lines talking to your students and parents and can have a positive effect on your business. By giving them flexibility and encouraging their creativity, you’ll have no problem convincing teachers to join your team and keeping them in it for the long haul.