Millennials are the fastest-growing segment of the general workforce, and specifically in healthcare. While much attention has been focused on the perceived negative traits of this generational group, Millennials have much to offer. Learn what this “interactive” generational set brings to the table and how to work with Millenials to increase productivity, encourage cross-generational communication and continual learning. But first, let’s examine what makes a Millennial, well, a Millennial, by taking a deeper look at the history that has shaped an entire generation.
Defining Moments in the Millennial Generation
According to Pew Research, anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 24 to 39 in 2020) is considered a Millennial.
“Most Millennials were between the ages of 5 and 20 when the 9/11 terrorist attacks shook the nation, and many were old enough to comprehend the historical significance of that moment, while most members of Gen Z have little or no memory of the event. Millennials also grew up in the shadow of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which sharpened broader views of the parties and contributed to the intense political polarization that shapes the current political environment. And most Millennials were between 12 and 27 during the 2008 election, where the force of the youth vote became part of the political conversation and helped elect the first black president. Added to that is the fact that Millennials are the most racially and ethnically diverse adult generation in the nation’s history.”
It’s also important to note the significance of technology and the role it has played in the ‘upbringing’ of Millennials. After all, the world wide web went live in 1990. Millennials grew up alongside life-altering technological advances—making this group very distinct from the older generations that preceded them.
How to Motivate & Engage Millennials in Healthcare Settings
1. Leverage Their Distinct Skillset
As healthcare leaders support Millennials, it’s critical to develop an understanding of the attributes that Millennials bring to the role and how they can be leveraged for optimal outcomes. For example, Millennials are more likely to adopt new technology with greater ease. Consider tasking them with finding and testing new technology that can alleviate pain points within the organization. Are there process improvements that can be automated or used to manage workflow more strategically? Rely on Millennials to be the bridge between old technology and new. Don’t view them as tech support, but know that they can adapt to new technology with an understanding of the functions of their department.
2. Confront Stereotypes Head-On
Discuss the common Millennial stereotypes floating around in your organization and how to deal with and dispel Millennial stereotypes. It’s equally important to understand how each stereotype can impact overall work performance. In addition, try to view Millennials through a different lens. They’re not lazy, they want to work more efficiently. They’re not overly sensitive, they are more socially aware.
3. Get Buy-In
Millennials communicate more often and use multiple methods of communication more so than any of the previous generations. As you embrace and engage with Millenials, provide them with a space to articulate their value in a compelling and meaningful way. Doing so will provide healthcare leaders with a way to get buy-in from Millennials when it comes time to implement operational improvements.
Millennials perform better when they are a part of the conversation and value timely, transparent feedback.
The impact of the Millennial workforce can pose unique challenges to teams in healthcare settings. Teamwork is an essential component of patient safety, and it is a standard practice among the largest and most successful healthcare systems in the country. To be effective, the organization’s culture must embrace collaboration among generations and have the systems, tools and processes in place to foster this type of environment. Successful leaders will master how to engage their Millennial workforce and how to best leverage their skills to achieve optimal outcomes.
Marion Spears Karr, M.A., possesses over 30 years of highly successful executive recruiting and talent acquisition consulting in the healthcare industry. He currently serves as Vice President at Tyler & Company, the executive search branch of Jackson Healthcare – a comprehensive family of highly-specialized, healthcare staffing and technology companies. Marion is nationally recognized for motivational speaking, leadership coaching, individual/team development. Learn more about Marion.