Attracting and Retaining Millennials: Rethinking Your School Values

Vol. 6 No. 3

riskmanager eletter Vol6 No3 millennial

Attracting the brightest faculty and staff has been a conversation point with schools for as long as school doors have been open. Your families want the best for their children—you want the best for your students. However, including “Now hiring the best and brightest” in your job descriptions simply isn’t enough.

To capture the attention—and retain—millennials entering the workforce, your school needs to offer what this generation looks for. They are worth your investment. But, this generation brings a different set of desires than generations before. If these desires are not met, they will leave for the next adventure.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that millennials stay in each job for an average of 18 months. High turnover can cost billions in training and company resources over time—exactly what schools running on limited budgets try desperately to avoid. However, shying away from this generation of quick learners and shining talent isn’t the solution. Instead, look for ways to align your school’s core values with those of potential new employees by taking a look at what resonates with this group.

What Millennials Want

Millennials are on a search for meaning, and company missions are most important to them.

If they don’t feel as though the work is fulfilling, they will search for a position that offers them meaningful purpose.

For private-independent schools, that can sound like a sigh of relief. Your school is mission-driven, offers copious volunteering opportunities, and is saturated with culture. You should have no issues attracting millennials, right? Not so fast. There’s more to their wish lists—much more.

Consider millennials to be 21st century employees.

They process information at a rapid pace, are always seeking growth possibilities, and don’t like playing by old, outdated rules. They are always looking for a work-around or a better way of doing something. They desire mentors and coaches, always looking for short bursts of wisdom.

Professional development is their most desired workplace perk because they’re in a hurry to climb the ladder of success. They want to reach their goals just as fast as they can process information. If your school is slow to introduce training possibilities, new projects/challenges, or mentoring evaluation programs, you’re going to struggle to hold onto the most talented from this generation.

Millennials want constant feedback.

They like organizations that evaluate regularly and/or have mentoring programs where they feel there is constant growth. They work best when they have clear goals in front of them. They’re not lazy, they’ll do what it takes to reach the next level, but they need to know there is a next level.

Flexibility is a big bonus with this generation.

They are used to studying, communicating, and producing from anywhere and at any time. They know how to pick up a smart tablet or open a laptop and just go. So, it is a challenge for some that can’t work remotely or when ever the urge strikes them. Being open to some flexibility with this generation will open new doors to their dedication for your mission.

They want to see the Big Picture.

Millennials want to know “why.” Why is your mission what it is? What goals are your teams setting, and how will those goals help to push your school forward into the future? How are they, as employees, an influential part of where your school is going?

Communication is key to keeping this generation engaged. Make regular announcements and share current information as frequently as possible.

Diversity matters.

Millennials have grown up with technology connecting them to people around the world. They are the most globalized generation yet. They can relate to different ethnicities with a certain natural ease generations before them had to learn. They value diversity and appreciate organizations that give them opportunities to work with and learn from varying cultures.

There’s no such thing as too much information or technology.

Millennials, again, are 21st century employees. They have grown up with technology and it’s simply a way of life for them. They would rather videoconference with clients (or classes around the world) than actually travel for work or study. This generation cares about efficiency and values technology to make them as effective as possible.

Huffington Post/Josh Cline: How to Attract, Retain, and Develop Millennial Employees
Forbes/Kathryn Dill: 5 Ways to Attract and Keep Top Millennial Talent

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for School Heads Vol. 12 No. 9 Attracting Exceptional Teachers
The Source for Private School News Vol. 13 No. 1 Stereotypes of Generation Y and —Ooh, Shiny!
The Source for Business Managers Vol. 9 No. 1 Everyone Can Learn From Millennials’ Use of Share Sites

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 36 No. 14 Generational Differences: The New Management Paradigm

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