By: Dr. Darrin Peppard
Ok, we’ve turned the pages of the calendar into a new year. School and district leaders everywhere are starting to think about the inevitable staffulty turnover. I, for one, already have my recruitment schedule put together, job fairs registered for, and travel arrangements completed. While we would rather have no turnover, we each want some type of advantage in the recruitment arena.
I go to a lot of job fairs all over the country. At these fair, districts have big banners with their colors and logos, salary schedules, promises of big signing bonuses, and various other eye candy to draw in the new recruits. We have TWO banners, yeah we are a big deal. (Above you see Nathan Tedjeske with me at a job fair in Michigan.)
We work hard, all of us, to draw the best of the best to our district. We want the very best teachers working with our students. Yet, leaders must remember that it is Generation Z who are now in the early career stages. We no longer are recruiting millennials. The wants of this generation of teachers is quite different than that of their millennial counterparts. In an article written for the University of Minnesota’s website, Olivia Hultgren identified four things Generation Z graduates are looking for in an employer. An open, collaborative work environment, learning and development opportunities, a flexible training schedule, and a company that strives to make a positive impact and values its employees are the things recruiters should be focused on highlighting for potential future employees.
In her article, What Matters to Millennial Teachers, Jennifer Abrams hit again on learning and development along with valuing employees, while adding clear expectations and coaching support as needed. Reading these and other articles to prepare this post, I was drawn to a recurring thought. Millennial teachers are looking for a great fit that includes a supportive, collaborative culture. As I look at what my school district has to offer to new recruits, I know we bring an amazing work and learning culture to the table. Pay, benefits, housing, etc are definitely something important to all of us. But there is more to accepting a job, starting or continuing your career, than just the dollar amount in the box on the paycheck.
Do you recognize a teacher of the year? Is there a big academic celebration in your school? Is there some special way you support new staff from onboarding through the first year? Do you have great teacher-student collaboration? What about your community, is there something special the community does for your teachers? Dollar signs will get them interested, your culture will be what keeps them in your school and district.
As we enter the recruitment season, take a step back and look at your practices in this area. Keep in mind you will be competing for the same millennials as others. If you’ve invested in the culture of your school and district, take advantage of that work and spread the word. It just may help you land that final recruit others are working to land as well.