Hint: It’s not purchase orders, requisition forms and receipts.
Millennials are the largest generation in the US labor force today. That means 1 in 3 workers are now millennials and those entering school systems are not being supported in a way that is useful to their skills and needs. A 2016 Gallup poll said only 6% of superintendents think that their district understands the needs of millennials, meaning the majority of school teachers are not supported with the tools they need to be successful. For the teaching profession in the US to both thrive and survive, the way these teachers are recruited, trained and motivated needs to change. Districts need to change the way they support these digital native teachers or risk falling behind.
- At the start of each school year 200,000 new teachers enter the profession, most will be millennials.
- By the end of the school year, at least 22,000 have quit.
- Millennials will make up at least 38% of your teacher population over the next five years.
- In 2008, teachers with 1 year of experience made up the largest group of educators. In 1987, it
was those with 15 years of experience.*
- About half the teachers entering the profession leave within five years.
- Millennials are connected and unconstrained. They don’t accept, “That’s the way it has always been,” they are connected to technology, and the way they access information and make purchases is digital (Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay).
So, what is the answer?
Jennifer Abrams is an educational consultant who helps school districts transition to a workforce that can thrive with millennial educators. Abrams explains that quick responses are something millennials are accustomed to. “Because they’ve grown up in a world where they can find “just in time” support anywhere from a Youtube video to a library website, millennials will thrive in a school environment where their administration responds quickly and provides plenty of timely information.” To be successful the school administration needs to know what these teachers need and want, the old way of doing things isn’t going to work.
According to Abrams, this group is made up of high-energy multi-taskers who are deeply tech-savvy and globally minded they thrive off enthusiasm, tech-readiness, competence and a spirit of collaboration. To motivate this group, Abrams recommends getting technology into millennials hands as soon as possible. You may know what to do for their accounts, the school’s digital footprint, and online communications – but another important aspect is to look at your procedures that may be outdated and unknowingly hurting your chances of keeping millennials happy and engaged.
For example, this sort of situation is not going to be positive for your millennial teachers:
- Submitting a Purchase Order and going through many steps to get it approved and then waiting for supplies to be delivered or to get reimbursed. Basic classroom supplies need to be accessible in a different way.
- Having a robust educational platform that delivers supplies to teachers within a few days, reimbursements that teachers upload on their iPhones, automatic access to allocated funds in their own individual online classroom budget – this is what is going to keep your millennial teachers happy.
ClassWallet is in 74,000 classrooms this fall providing individual classroom budgets to teachers, allowing for reimbursements through an app upload and creating an Amazon-like shopping experience filled only with 50+ education vendors offering specials and deals tailored just for teachers delivered to their address in days. No more paperwork. No more old-school procedures, instead – digital processes made for millennial teachers.
*Source: Inducting the Millennial Generation in the Era of Teacher Shortages: https://wasb.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/InductingMillennialGeneration.pdf