The Irreplaceables: Study says schools losing top teachers

I listened to a panel a few weeks ago on whether schools were aware of and keeping their top teachers. I have not had a chance to write up the findings but will soon. In the meantime, here is a new report from The New Teacher Project that addresses the same issue: Whether schools are doing enough to keep their best teachers.

A new study finds that urban schools are systematically neglecting their best teachers, losing tens of thousands every year even as they keep many of their lowest-performing teachers indefinitely—with disastrous consequences for students, schools, and the teaching profession.

The study by TNTP, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all students get excellent teachers, documents the real teacher retention crisis in America’s schools: not only a failure to retain enough teachers, but a failure to retain the right teachers.

“The Irreplaceables,” released at an event featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, NEA Secretary-Treasurer Rebecca Pringle, and DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, spans four urban school districts encompassing 90,000 teachers and 1.4 million students. It focuses on the experiences of the “Irreplaceables”: teachers so successful at advancing student learning that they are nearly impossible to replace. Schools rarely make a strong effort to keep these teachers despite their success—and rarely usher unsuccessful teachers out.

As a result, the best and worst teachers leave urban schools at strikingly similar rates. The nation’s 50 largest districts lose approximately 10,000 Irreplaceables each year. Meanwhile, about 40 percent of teachers with more than seven years of experience are less effective at advancing academic progress than the average first-year teacher.

“America’s best teachers are truly irreplaceable,” said Secretary Duncan. “I’ve said that when it comes to teaching, talent matters tremendously. But TNTP’s report documents in painful detail that school leaders are doing far too little to nurture, retain, and reward great teachers—and not nearly enough to identify and assist struggling teachers. Our teachers, who play such a crucial role in the lives of children, deserve a profession built on respect and rigor. And our children deserve—and need—to learn from those irreplaceable teachers.”

The study attributes negligent retention patterns to three major causes:

•Inaction by school principals. Less than 30 percent of Irreplaceables plan to leave for reasons beyond their school’s control. Simple strategies, like public recognition for a job well done, boost their plans to stay by as many as six years. Yet two-thirds indicated that no one had encouraged them to return for another year. Similarly, principals rarely try to counsel out low performers, even though replacing them with a brand-new teacher will immediately achieve better academic results 75 percent of the time.

•Poor school cultures and working conditions. Schools that retain more Irreplaceables have strong cultures where teachers work in an atmosphere of mutual respect, leaders respond to poor performance, and great teaching is the priority. Turnover rates among Irreplaceables were 50 percent higher in schools lacking these traits.

•Policies that impede smarter retention practices. A number of policy barriers hamper principals from making smarter retention decisions. Because of inflexible, seniority-dominated compensation systems, for example, 55 percent of Irreplaceables earn a lower salary than the average low-performing teacher.

The report notes that current retention patterns stymie school turnaround efforts and prevent the teaching profession from earning the prestige it deserves. It offers two major recommendations:

•Make retention of Irreplaceables a top priority. Districts should aim to keep more than 90 percent of their Irreplaceables annually, monitor and improve school working conditions, pay the best teachers what they’re worth and create new career pathways that extend their reach.

•Strengthen the teaching profession with higher expectations. Leaders at all levels should set a new baseline standard for effectiveness: Teachers who cannot teach as well as the average first-year teacher should be considered ineffective and dismissed or counseled out (unless they are first-year teachers). Policymakers should change teacher hiring and layoff policies that discourage schools from enforcing higher expectations.

“Our schools should be obsessed with keeping their best teachers. But today it appears that they are almost completely oblivious to them,” said TNTP President Tim Daly. “It’s degrading to teachers and their profession. The challenge now is to address both sides of this crisis: the neglect of our best teachers, and the indifference to performance that keeps unsuccessful teachers in the classroom for too long.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

117 comments Add your comment

Chunter

July 30th, 2012
12:37 pm

We’ve always known that teachers who are marketable tend to move from rough urban schools to those in the suburbs.

So in what way is this news?

You can’t force everyone into the public school monopoly and then expect it to actually work—especially in the inner-cities neighborhoods. Nor would squeezing more money out of over-burdened taxpayers help.

Much of this is covered in the excellent film WAITING FOR SUPERMAN.

skipper

July 30th, 2012
12:39 pm

Too many obstacles to face……kids with no family life (many, not all, but many) and absolutly devoid of even the most basic amount of discipline and respect in many cases. These things, along with the governments latest “feel-good” (but unproven) remedy of the day make many say “To heck with this scene!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Dr. Monica Henson

July 30th, 2012
12:41 pm

I have been a trainer for TNTP and have great admiration for their work. When David Driscoll was Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts, the department of education launched a collaboration with TNTP called the Mass. Institute for New Teachers (MINT), and I ran the Summer Institute (a/k/a “boot camp”) in Worcester. There were six Summer Institutes across the state in urban centers. At the conclusion of the summer, MINT secured sufficient funds to pay several Institute directors, including me, to stay with our cohort of teachers as mentors. Most of our interactions were by phone and email, and if their school permitted, we did at least one formal observation of each teacher at work during their first year of teaching. My cohort posted a better than 90% retention rate at the end of their first year. Many of them are still teaching. Two of my cohort are now department chairs of special education. The one thing that my instructional staff and I did with the cohort that summer was to prepare them for the strong possibility that they would not enjoy effective administrative support in the high-need urban schools where they were placed, with explanations of why that would be. We tried to give them a good dose of “real life expectations,” and I believe that this helped a lot in those new teachers being able to understand the challenges that are inherent in those kinds of schools. They were able to hang onto their sense of mission that brought them to TNTP to begin with.

Identification of outstanding, accomplished teachers and the creation of career pathways that will take advantage of their skills and abilities without removing them from the classroom are just two of the things that have to start occurring in high-need schools if we are ever going to retain those folks in the places where they are needed the most.

Jefferson

July 30th, 2012
12:50 pm

Pay them what they are worth ? What does that mean ? Worth.

d

July 30th, 2012
12:53 pm

Monopoly: exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or control that makes possible the manipulation of prices. Neither of these definitions matches what out public education system does. If it did, no private schools would exist, yet they do. Parents have plenty of choice – the question is are they willing to make the sacrifices necessary if they want to send their children to a private school. I would guess individuals such as Chunter (or is it really Jane W?) would not be willing to make such a sacrifice. They want it all, and in the process we place demands on teachers that even the best of us struggle to meet…. Let’s look at my roster with 46 (yes, that is forty-six) students who are scheduled to enter my classroom on August 13 for just one class. Let’s look at the new CCGPS but lack of adequate training on top of cuts to pay so the district can balance its budget. It is no wonder the best teachers throw their hands up and leave.

I am starting my 8th year in education and have never seen an increase in pay with the exception of a small COLA in 2008. Sometimes I wonder how much more I can take in the name of doing the right thing for the children. I will, however, continue to move forward and do my best. I just hope that the trend changes quickly so I can afford to continue doing what I love.

Kris

July 30th, 2012
1:21 pm

This is not just an “urban” issue. My wife was a high school honors biology teacher in a suburban Atlanta. After teaching for 8 years, she quit teaching altogether due to frustrations with the bureaucracy. Her last straw was a seniority based cut back. She was offered a contract, but had to sign it without knowing exactly where she would be teaching in a very large county (Fulton). Since she recently moved from one county to another, she had low seniority in the county (even though she had 8 years total teaching experience). She chose not to sign and started her own unrelated business. My wife has two masters degrees, her first in biology and her second in education. She’s exactly the type of “irreplaceable” you would want to have teaching biology to your children. I am sure that this kind of scenario plays out every year. It’s a real shame!

teach

July 30th, 2012
1:29 pm

Our system’s mindset is if you are not happy, move on, you will be replaced. They place no value on the work of great teachers, other than the once a year teacher of the year contest.
They do not value teachers’ opinions and do not listen when teachers fill out surveys and give feedback.

NONPC

July 30th, 2012
1:37 pm

It focuses on the experiences of the “Irreplaceables”: teachers so successful at advancing student learning that they are nearly impossible to replace. Schools rarely make a strong effort to keep these teachers despite their success

This goes to the collectivism that encompasses all things teacher. To admit that a teacher is a great teacher, you have to admit that other teachers are NOT great. You have to stipulate that all teachers are NOT equal in ability. Then, you have to come up with programs to retain the best teachers… how you will identify them, and the incentives that you will use to retain them. This ENRAGES the less than spectacular teachers. They refused to be judged on their merit. Every attempt is met with scorn. Are you going to reward a 1st year teacher MORE than a 7 year veteran? How dare you!

Anyway, you get my drift. Simply acknowledging the existence of irreplaceable teachers causes chaos and discontent among the rest of the faculty and administration. Its not about the students, its all about keeping faculty happy in blissful mediocrity. For the most part, those urban school systems don’t care if the excellent teachers leave as long as the rest of the staff is happy (to hell with teaching the kids).

twee28

July 30th, 2012
1:46 pm

Paying more for teachers only makes sense if there’s a way to terminate the lemons and perpetual whiners. But then too, we have so-o-o-o many applicants for the average K-12 job.

And three months of vacation time per year often appeals to the wrong sort of person.

Howard Finkelstein

July 30th, 2012
1:48 pm

Irreplaceables? Oh brother. More liberal “storm in a teacup” mentality. Even YOU, Arne Duncan, are replaceable.

Don't Tread

July 30th, 2012
1:49 pm

Let’s see….you toss the merit system and then wonder why your best teachers leave for greener pastures?

Dr. Monica Henson

July 30th, 2012
1:55 pm

NONPC posted, “Its not about the students, its all about keeping faculty happy in blissful mediocrity.”

Bingo. Most district public schools are run as employment agencies for adults, not as places of learning for kids.

The political agenda of the NEA and the AFT, which have a strong influence on their affiliated organizations in nonunion states like Georgia, is to resist to the point of death any effort to differentiate among the skill level of teachers. There is a terrible mirage of “all teachers are great,” hanging over the seniority- and advanced degree-based salary schedule system, that has created the gridlock that is the teacher compensation system in this country.

I don’t advocate abolishing tenure altogether (although it needs to become a lot harder to earn, which is an administrator problem, not a teacher issue), and I believe that teachers with advanced degrees who demonstrate that their students have excellent achievement outcomes should be compensated accordingly. But the idea that you receive an annual raise simply for breathing, and you can self-select for raises by accumulating degrees, divorced from any performance criteria that includes student achievement outcomes (measure by a variety of sources), is ridiculous.

Mary Elizabeth

July 30th, 2012
2:17 pm

Most people, including teachers, will not function as well within an overall environment of fear and intimidation, as they will within an overall environment of nurturing, care, respect for all, and respect for excellence through inspiration and motivation.

When emphasis within a school’s environment is placed upon teachers’ improvement and teachers’ training, rather than upon the stratification and dismissal of teachers, the school’s overall environment becomes less threatening, fearful, and tense for all within the school, as well as more productive for teachers and students, alike.

Test scores should be used primarily for diagnostic purposes to target and enhance instruction for the benefit of students. The purpose of the data should be enlightenment, not punishment.
When students are instructed according to individual need, they generally succeed
————————————————————-

Moreover, as citizens, perhaps we should begin to consider what degree of competition versus what degree of cooperation we wish to perpetuate within society, as a whole. Perhaps, it is time to question whether the more “muscular” concepts of power, dominance, winning, and wealth (a hierarchial vision) are the values more to be sought within our nation, as opposed to the values of cooperation, collaboration, and intellectual and spiritual development (an egalitarian vision).

Blue dog

July 30th, 2012
2:17 pm

What would happen to our medical care if we elected local “Boards of Medicine” to control the quality of our healthcare ?
The key word here is “Elected”.
Georgia has 150+ locally “elected” school boards. These individuals control the superintendent, who hires the principals, who hires the teachers. This system allows for way too much disparity in quality of our education.
Parents want….”local control”, but that allows the “Clayton Counties” to happen.
The states should hire “EVERYONE” from the best and brightest available to them…as State Employees. Then, new hires can teach anywhere in the state. Just think of the way all other state employees are hired and sent around the state.
This would have the great benefit of having ONE PERSONNEL DEPT…..like all OTHER state employees, thus saving most of that 50% of total funding for administrative cost, saving at least 1 billion+….which could then be used to boast teachers pay reduce class sizes and provide some serious bonus money to talented teachers willing to teach in the poorest performing schools.
I know…i know…that would mean losing your precious “local control”.
But just like we continue to elect the local Court Clerk, Coroner, probate judges, sheriffs, tax commissioners, etc…we too often vote for incompetents or popularity over ability.
Elect your County Committee, then let them hire and fire as needed.

Unfunded pension

July 30th, 2012
2:17 pm

Any system that cannot identify and disincent the incompetent and failing will not be able to reward and keep the best either. They go together.

williebkind

July 30th, 2012
2:26 pm

Everytime I tell other staff I am irreplaceable they just laugh or smile and walk away.

Digger

July 30th, 2012
2:29 pm

Smart people tend to not suffer fools forever.They leave. Dumb people are fools. They stay.

dc

July 30th, 2012
2:34 pm

Of course we are losing good teachers. Each semester, their classes fill up with students whose parents ask that their kids be put in the best teacher’s class. The best teacher’s get an increased workload, while the worst teachers have less work. And their is ZERO financial reward for the best teachers, and ZERO financial penalty for the worst ones.

Who in their right mind would last in an environment like this….where being good is penalized, and being bad is rewarded.

Daniel S.

July 30th, 2012
2:44 pm

I find it interesting that the study claims first year teachers are irreplaceable. “Meanwhile, about 40 percent of teachers with more than seven years of experience are less effective at advancing academic progress than the average first-year teacher.” “Teachers who cannot teach as well as the average first-year teacher should be considered ineffective and dismissed or counseled out (unless they are first-year teachers). IMHO It usually takes first year teachers two to three years to learn the ropes, to learn what works and what doesn’t. That kind of knowledge can’t be learned in college; it comes from on the job experience.

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

July 30th, 2012
2:47 pm

Speaking from the perspective of excellent test scores and high “value-added” marks – the pay is the least important of the points made in the original article. The culture is, to me, screamingly important. I’ve moved again this year – this school looks very promising. I keep believing that hard work and glowing results would be appreciated by administrators. Not so thus far. Maybe, as my wife tells me, I just haven’t been at a “good school” yet. Maybe this year… [there's your mobility]

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

July 30th, 2012
2:50 pm

Administrators – if you were to honestly say (maybe anonymously here?) what would you really be looking for in an employee?

lee ann

July 30th, 2012
2:57 pm

PLEASE PLEASE stop using the light gray fonts!! it’s simply NOT NECESSARY AND VERY HARD TO READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Parent and Teacher

July 30th, 2012
3:09 pm

“Its not about the students, its all about keeping faculty happy in blissful mediocrity.” So true. The most sad part of this is that almost every administrator I’ve ever met had no idea what good teaching looked like. They do not tend to be academics and have no criteria for identifying good teachers. Basically if parents are not complaining too much and the kids are placated (not too challenged, somewhat entertained), then everything is fine! Of course, they look for hard evidence like word walls, etc. LOL!!! We needed serious brainstorming to get out of this situation. Can you imagine what the next generation of teachers and administrators will look like? I am afraid we have let a lot of talent walk right out the door, and in some cases asked it to leave. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who realizes how grim the situation is.

Randy Glover

July 30th, 2012
3:09 pm

Does it surprise anyone that a good teacher will be gone with the wind as soon as he or she gets the chance? They may have to go to work in a tough district, as I did, their first few years of teaching. After that, and this is true of most all of the teachers at my first school, it is on to greener pastures. There is no way they had enough money to ‘retain’ me; also, no way I would have taught for 30 years. Most of us join this profession to be teachers, not policemen, referees, or babysitters.

Tonya C.

July 30th, 2012
3:26 pm

Dr. Henson:

While I don’t disagree with you, let’s all be reminded that even the supposedly GUARANTEED increases based on years of experience have been forfeited the last few years. I absolutely can say some type of merit-based system is needed but where will the money come from? Or will be like the NBCT program?

Randy Glover: Exactly! How many of these teachers are leaving the profession vs. those just going to greener pastures?

Nikole

July 30th, 2012
3:30 pm

Off-Topic

For those interested in helping real teachers who stay in difficult settings, I have a Donor’s Choose Project up.

http://www.donorschoose.org/nallen

Hillbilly D

July 30th, 2012
3:31 pm

What they need to be figuring out is how to keep people who can be top teachers coming into the system and how to retain them after they do.

As for irreplaceable, the graveyards are full of people who couldn’t be replaced.

Nikole

July 30th, 2012
3:31 pm

For those interested in helping real teachers, who stay in difficult settings, I have a Donor’s Choose Project up.

http://www.donorschoose.org/nallen

Ron F.

July 30th, 2012
3:38 pm

“Strengthen the teaching profession with higher expectations. Leaders at all levels should set a new baseline standard for effectiveness”

I’m so, so, so tired of hearing “higher expectations”…..it comes down to this. If there is a supportive, collegial, respectful environment where good teachers are praised personally and meaningfully by administrators, then they tend to stay and keep doing their best. I’ve spent the better part of my career in a poor, rural school teaching the lowest academic level kids, and I love it because my efforts are recognized and I know I’m appreciated. I could go to a more affluent district, but why would I, knowing that my administration supports me fully. That’s the key- plain and simple. And my prinicpal makes no bones about the fact that the bad teachers aren’t staying- and he jumps through any hoop necessary to get them out.

Mirva

July 30th, 2012
3:40 pm

Top teachers are smart, capapble people. They know they are smart and capable and feel they deserve good working conditions with reasonable pay. I don’t feel lucky or thankful to have a teaching job, I think that my very good school is lucky to have me. I know that I could get another job, even in this economy. I love what I do and I think I”m very good at it, but if or when the administration becomes indifferent or abusive, or whatever, I know with full confidence that I can get another teaching job, or leave the profession. If you want smart, capable people in your classrooms, you have to treat them well. Otherwise, be content with half wits you can intimidate or push around because they fear for their jobs. You can’t have both.

bootney farnsworth

July 30th, 2012
3:56 pm

@gsmith

just wondering – who launders your hood?

bootney farnsworth

July 30th, 2012
3:59 pm

the surprise shouldn’t be urban systems lose their best teachers, the surprise should be they keep them as long as they do.

edugator

July 30th, 2012
4:04 pm

Interesting blue dog. How about adding a legitimate national curriculum?

mark

July 30th, 2012
4:29 pm

I want a free agency in teaching. Take my score on my teacher evaulation and post it along with my resume on Teach Georgia. Schools could bid for me by paying me more, just like football or baseball, true capitalism. Since science teachers are in higher need, therefore my pay should be higher than and english teacher.

Scott

July 30th, 2012
4:38 pm

gsmith tells it EXACTLY how it is Bootney. Provide ONE spec of factual evidence to point otherwise and someone may listen to you.

Blue dog

July 30th, 2012
4:48 pm

edugator

“How about….National curriculum”.
That should the first change….Our “National interest” in promoting a quality education is no different than other “equal rights” under the constitution. States famously default on these rights so enforce changes “legally” from the Federal level….and hear the “states rights” winers begin.

Mary Elizabeth

July 30th, 2012
4:57 pm

Mark, 4:29 pm

“Schools could bid for me by paying me more, just like football or baseball, true capitalism. Since science teachers are in higher need, therefore my pay should be higher than and english teacher.”
=====================================

Mark, you may be paid more than an English teacher in time, based upon the economic principle of “supply and demand” within capitalism, but you could still use the services of an English teacher. Notice, below, the grammatical corrections that this former English teacher has made to your last sentence within your post.

We must not diminish the value of English teachers to society. :-)

———————————————————

Incorrectly written: “. . . my pay should be higher than and english teacher.”

Corrected version: “. . . my pay should be higher than an English teacher’s.”

long time educator

July 30th, 2012
5:09 pm

I have worked as a teacher and administrator. As a teacher, I would not work for someone who was not supportive. I, like Mirva, feel confident I could get another job inside or outside education and would not stay where I was not appreciated. As an administrator, NW Ga Math/Science Teacher, I looked for someone who was competent and ready to go on day one. I wanted enthusiasm for teaching and maturity in personal relationships and a classroom where I would place my own child. I treated the teachers in my building the way I would want to be treated.

Adult Educator

July 30th, 2012
5:36 pm

Mary Elizabeth makes some great points. Her following statement is brilliant in its insight:

“Moreover, as citizens, perhaps we should begin to consider what degree of competition versus what degree of cooperation we wish to perpetuate within society, as a whole. Perhaps, it is time to question whether the more “muscular” concepts of power, dominance, winning, and wealth (a hierarchial vision) are the values more to be sought within our nation, as opposed to the values of cooperation, collaboration, and intellectual and spiritual development (an egalitarian vision).”

SBinF

July 30th, 2012
5:37 pm

I’m in education. I work at a private school. I’ve been teaching for about 6 years. Once I finish my master’s, I plan to begin a new career. I enjoy teaching, but the income growth simply isn’t there to entice me to stay in the profession for much longer. Let’s not even begin with my frustrations in dealing with parents. Most parents are very supportive, and I am fortunate to have a supportive administration. Unfortunately, there is the 5% of parents who make life incredibly difficult for the teachers. I guess there are difficult people in all lines of work, but I am going to take my chances elsewhere.

CY 2.0

July 30th, 2012
6:00 pm

Schools need to do more to retain the best teachers and make it easier to remove ineffective teachers. However, there is a difference between getting rid of bad teachers are getting rid of teachers who have never been nurtured or mentored. We need a holistic approach here. You cannot throw teachers into the classroom and simply wait for them to sink or swim. I have seen many promising teachers leave of get forced out when they don’t succeed right away. More often than not, in my experience anyway, it has less to do with the teacher’s potential and more to do with a lack of support. Talent and potential are not enough. We need support across the board, both for new teachers and for veteran teachers trying improve their practices.

Bernie

July 30th, 2012
6:06 pm

if you think losing top teachers is bad, just wait until the Georgia Republicans introduce the school voucher payment system, shortly after the marginal success of the charter school plan. Georgia’s education system will look more like the current Mississippi
State Education system.

mountain man

July 30th, 2012
6:23 pm

Is anyone surprised by this? I know I’m not. I have been saying this for a long time. The working conditions are so atrocious now that lots of teachers are leaving the profession, and it is not the bottom 50% that are leaving, it is the top 50%.

Good luck with that education model that you have. Call me if you want to hear a plan that will work.

Jordan Kohanim

July 30th, 2012
6:52 pm

Sadly, with the economy the way it is, I doubt teachers will ever regain the “STEP” raises once promised to them.

I never saw a STEP raise. It was absolutely one of the reasons I left teaching. Not the only reason, but it was a reason to be sure.

dbow

July 30th, 2012
7:53 pm

I often wonder what I would do if I left teaching. I’m going into my 18th year and I keep thinking about that scene from Shawshank Redemption when the old man killed himself and Morgan Freeman said he was so used to being in prison that he couldn’t handle the outside world. I could go into real estate, but that’s in the dumpster now. I could go into sales, but working on commission is scary to me. I could go back into the engineering field. Oh wait, I love teaching and have come to terms with the FACTS that I will never be paid what I consider my true value, I will constantly be put under a microscope and held to a higher, almost impossible to reach standard than any of my non-teaching peers and I will probably have a heart attack from all the testing and stress(Sorry for the run on sentence). I honestly can’t picture myself doing anything else and enjoying it or reaping the same benefits as being a teacher.

bootney farnsworth

July 30th, 2012
8:00 pm

@ Scott

since you asked….

Baldwin Hills, Ca.
Bloomfield, Conn
Springdale, Md
Cascade Heights, right here in Atlanta

I could go on at great length, but I’m a big believer in not trying to teach pigs to sing

Megan

July 30th, 2012
8:01 pm

You would be crazy to become a teacher today. Our society no longer wants our children to be educated and we will soon be a third world power.

bootney farnsworth

July 30th, 2012
8:05 pm

@ Jordan

the 2000s will be known as the decade of lost wages -administrators not included, of course.
all of us lost $100s of dollars in take home pay we’ll never see again. I expect we’ll see a very modest increase this year since its an election year, but it won’t keep up with benefits, let alone inflation.

the year after, back to frozen wages and furloughs

Jordan Kohanim

July 30th, 2012
8:10 pm

Bootney- Agreed. Everyone lost money in this economy. I just don’t know that the public sector will ever see it back.

bootney farnsworth

July 30th, 2012
8:11 pm

NW Ga asked

Administrators – if you were to honestly say (maybe anonymously here?) what would you really be looking for in an employee?

the simple answer: relatives