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Recruiting, Hiring & Retaining Millennials & GenZs

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

Are you 'generationally inclusive' in your hiring process? What techniques do you use to connect with Millennials and GenZs? Discover how one HR leader addresses the generational divide in his recruiting efforts. His approach is not only practical, it's inclusive.


By: Brian White


Brian White is the Executive Director of Human Resources and Operations at Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437. He also currently serves as an Executive Board Member of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA). He has presented at national conferences on multiple HR and Recruiting topics. Recently, we asked him to share with us his expertise in recruiting, hiring and retaining Millennials and GenZs.

Q&A With Brian


What tools are district human capital leaders looking for to better recruit & retain millennials?

We need to be able to connect in a way that is comfortable to the candidate. Millennials are now the largest part of our workforce. They are fluent in digital communication including social media, mobile friendly applications, and text messaging. District human capital leaders should ensure that they are able to connect in a candidate friendly way via these various formats.


What incentives and/or benefits are being used to specifically recruit Millennials and GenZ?

Millennials are showing great interest in collaboration, mentoring programs, professional growth and development, technology in the classroom, and balance with life and community. We try to highlight these things in our recruitment materials and onboarding programs. We recently partnered with our chamber of commerce and a young professionals group to support new teachers, as well as teachers new to the community. This helps connect them to professional development opportunities, social events, and service events in the area.


How does hiring the new generation of teachers compare with a few years ago?

One noticeable difference is the timing and pace of hiring. School districts are developing relationships earlier in the hiring process, as well as hiring candidates before teacher interview fairs. Hiring processes and timelines have sped up with the implementation and integration of technology. District human capital leaders now have solutions in their tool kit like virtual fairs, text messaging solutions, and video interviewing.


Are you currently tracking the demographics of your teacher generations and if so, what are you seeing?

Millennials were born between approximately 1981 and 1996. GenZ was born after 1996. We are just now starting to see the first GenZ teachers entering the work force. Just as the nation has seen Millennials become the largest part of the workforce we have seen the same in the demographics of our teachers.


How has teacher preparation changed for Millennials and GenZ? Is it in line with the skills you’re looking for in new hires to your district?

Millennials and GenZ have grown up in a digital age. Technology has been introduced and used to enhance instruction. Online coursework, micro-credentialing, and video snippets have now become a part of many teacher preparation programs. The internet and connectivity to the global world have expanded the amount and depth of information available. Growing up in and understanding how to navigate in the digital world can only benefit new hires as they work with today’s students.


What have you found to be one of the best unknown qualities of the new generation of teachers?

I don’t know that I would call it an “unknown” quality, but I have found the new generation of teachers to thrive on collaboration. They seem to enjoy opportunities to connect with peers, work together towards a common goal, seek and share feedback, and mentor each other.


What challenges do you see facing Millennials and GenZ teachers?

One challenge on the rise is the increase in social, emotional, behavioral, and mental needs of today’s student population. Needs like individualized learning plans, differentiated instruction, and inclusion in the classroom are changing student instructional needs and strategies in the classroom.


Do you have any recommendations, books, resources that you would suggest for other district leaders?

I would highly recommend membership in the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA). AASPA’s national conference is an outstanding opportunity to learn more about this topic, benchmark, and network. AASPA also has a bookstore with several great resources. I have found twitter chats like #K12Talent and #MillennialChat to be relevant and great resources. Pew Research Center also provides great information and reporting on generations and generational differences.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


With over 15 years experience in developing and implementing new programs for employee staffing, executive staffing, employee recognition, and training, Brian is passionate about making a difference in public education through strategic HR leadership. His background in Human Resources began as a Training Group Leader, Operations Group Leader, and Transportation Supervisor for Target Corporation. From there he worked as a Human Resources Manager, College Relations Manager, and Staffing Manager for Payless Shoesource. Brain also served as a Supply Corps Officer in the United States Navy.