Tag Archives: human resources

Are we turning off millenial employees?

Jen LaMaster said:

I’ve been reading this post … from EdTech Magazine about how millennials use technology. Not the usual “how to make a millennial happy” stuff… but data on their use of mobile technology to create, consume, and collect information. The article claims that cellphones are the most popular device but that “computers” are a close second for productivity. The intersection of two being in cloud tools linking the quick access/communication device with the productivity of a full operating system. True multi-channel users in a mobile world.

What does this mean for the average educational administrator? This is our hiring pool. The article cites a corporate-sponsored study where they claim that millennials make up 37% of the current workforce with a projection of 75% of the workforce by 2025.

Our position as education administrator challenges us to hire, promote, and retain employees who use technology in innovative and productive ways (ISTE Admin Standard 4C). How are our classroom policies stifling these mobile, multi-channel young educators? Could some of our reported teacher shortage be related to a lack of willingness to embrace a generation who uses technology outside our control boundaries? As I evaluate and hire young faculty, I’ll admit I have to check some of my 46-year-old parameters at the door. But are we really ready to welcome this next generation of teachers for their strengths and talents?

Supportive, apathetic, or obstructive?

stop go sign

When it comes to employment, I think that organizations fall into 3 general categories: supportive, apathetic, or obstructive.

Supportive organizations have structures in place that work. They are intentionally designed to empower employees to be successful. They often go out of their way to find mechanisms that make employees’ lives easier and better. There are constant internal messages of encouragement, risk-taking, and celebration. They invest heavily in employee efficacy and talent development, recruitment and retention.

Apathetic organizations kind of stumble along. They get some stuff done but they’re not exciting or invigorating places to work. They don’t invest much in employee success mechanisms (although they might say they do because they have similar positions or structures as peer institutions). If you do good work, great; they will kind of leave you alone to do your thing. If you’re not doing good work, it will take them a long time to find out and they may or may not do anything about it. They are thankful if poor workers leave but if good workers leave they don’t do much to try to keep them because ‘others will just come along to replace them.’ It feels like everyone is just kind of going through the motions. There’s no spark of energy or enthusiasm.

Obstructive organizations get in your way. They have layers of bureaucracy and policy in place that actively work against employee success. There often are multiple layers of ‘no’ that you have to navigate for even simple requests. No one is minding the ship so individual bosses have the ability to be as terrible as they wish. Vision and mission statements are meaningless because implementation is shoddy or nonexistent. Employee dissatisfaction and turnover are high, as is internal dysfunction.

I’ve worked in all three types. Supportive organizations are wonderful places to be. If you’re lucky enough to work in one of those, think hard before moving. Apathetic organizations are okay. They don’t actively support you but neither do they actively block you. The only psychic benefits that you’ll get from being there are the ones that you create yourself but you usually can carve out a space for your work. Obstructive organizations are truly awful, soul-sucking places. If you find that you’re in one of those, immediately begin making a plan for departure. They’re not worth the psychic costs of stress and loss of quality of life.

Climates and cultures are incredibly important to organizational productivity and success. As leaders, would your employees describe your organization as supportive, apathetic, or obstructive? Maybe you have elements of each? How could you find out?

Image credit: stop go sign, Joel Kramer