How to Effectively Manage Millennials in Your Healthcare Practice
At this moment in time, our American workforce includes three distinct generations: Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), Generation X (born between 1965-1979), and Millennials (born between 1980-2000).
Although older Millennials have been in the workforce for some time, those born in the 1990s are just getting their feet wet. Unfortunately, these 20-somethings often find themselves confronted with preconceived notions about how Millennials behave as employees—namely that Millennials are entitled and unwilling to “pay their dues.”
As a Millennial, I’m here to dispel these myths, and to help you understand where we’re coming from. Here are a few of our (generally) defining characteristics, so you can better manage Millennials within your healthcare practice or clinic.
Millennials have never lived in a world where computers and cell phones didn’t exist. Naturally, we’re digital communicators who are accustomed to accessing anything and anyone at any time. We tend to prefer text or email to face-to-face conversations.
But text or email is rarely the best medium for making a call to action within a team. Because of this, Millennials can falter when it comes to decision-making. To avoid letting indecisiveness hamper team progress, consider communicating the value of face-to-face meetings to your younger staff members. For instance, you may let them know that text or email is OK for a simple request, but that in-person meetings are more appropriate for complicated matters.
Remember when I said that we’re used to accessing information or people right when we need it? This is not a myth. For this reason, it’s important to let Millennials know there is a “time and place” for reaching higher-level staff or giving and receiving feedback.
Generally speaking, Millennials don’t appreciate the value of becoming an expert, and can need help to start and finish projects. If a younger staff member is starting a new initiative or project, consider being available to provide guidance. Define what quality work looks like and avoid accepting sloppy or unfinished work. Be clear with your expectations and, again, give Millennials a structured method for obtaining feedback.
One of the common myths about Millennials is that we like to hop between jobs. The truth is, we just want to feel like we are part of a team, and we want to do work that matters. To leverage our propensity for teamwork, explicitly define our roles and the ways in which we can contribute. Making sure Millennials have a clearly outlined career path is important, too.
This looks different for everyone; however, setting and defining expectations within your team can help everyone achieve more balance. For example, let your staff members know how quickly and at what times they’re expected to respond to work emails. If at all possible, consider enabling employees to work outside of the office.
How can this information improve my practice?
The characteristics I’ve mentioned here do not apply to all Millennials. Nevertheless, I hope this article gives you insight into some of the issues that matter to the Millennial generation. Conversely, I hope you find it to be a useful tool in helping Millennials and new hires on your team better understand the older generations’ perspectives.
The need to work with other people is one of the few constants in the business world. No one builds a successful company or career by themselves. Taking a moment to reflect on generational differences can help to fortify employee relationships, retain talent, and bolster efficiency within your healthcare practice. At the end of the day, all that matters is your team sees itself as one—and counts the differences of its members as strengths.
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