I think it’s safe to say that the challenge of recruiting and retaining top talent is an initiative for every healthcare organization.  As Baby Boomers begin to retire, Millennials are going to be filling their jobs, and it’s estimated that more than 600,000 registered nurses and 160,000 physicians will retire within the next eight years. There are over 40 million Millennials in the workforce today and that number is going to continue to skyrocket with approximately 10,000 Millennials turning 21 every day. As a healthcare organization, your ability to attract, develop, and retain young people will make or break your organization in the coming years.  It’s time to start looking at ways to leverage the Millennial mindset now.

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of research conducted about this generation and how they’re different. Millennials have gotten a bad rap for a while now and their reputation was only tainted more when the groundbreaking TIME article titled “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation” came out in 2013,—stating that Millennials are “lazy, narcissist who still live with their parents.” On the surface, it may seem like they are a generation made up of self-centered, spoiled, iPhone-addicts but they may just be the missing ingredient to your workplace culture.  Employers must use this generation’s supposed “flaws” to their advantage.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when hiring and working with Millennials — especially in healthcare.

They’re not entitled; they just want to do meaningful work.

Studies show that Millennials have an overwhelming focus on the ideology that work should be about more than just a paycheck, aligning perfectly with the mission of most healthcare organizations. The quest for meaningful work and the desire to make a difference is a core Millennial trait, according to MTV’s No Collars Study.  Their perceived “pickiness” and sense of entitlement when it comes to their career path is more so just their reaction to the endless opportunities presented to them and their desire to deeply connect with their work.  Remember, this generation has been instilled with an inflated sense of self-esteem since childhood when their parents told them “You can do anything you set your mind to.” In fact, 90 percent of them think that they deserve their dream job and 60 percent of them believe that the perfect job exists. While salary and benefits are important, Millennials have other career goals and aspirations in mind:

  • 95 percent of Millennials say they are “motivated to work harder when I know where my work is going.”
  • 89 percent of Millennials think it’s important to be constantly learning on the job.
  • 50 percent of Millennials would rather have no job than a job they hate.

In the healthcare industry the focus is on providing the best possible care to patients. In order to provide high quality care, healthcare organizations need to ensure that they’re bringing on committed employees who are not just showing up for their shift for the sole purpose of  a paycheck.  In order to make better hiring decisions, healthcare organizations should consider implementing behavioral assessments into their recruitment process. Behavioral assessments allow you to focus on a candidate’s personality traits such as compassion and customer focus to ensure that their inherent behavioral competencies align with the organization’s culture.

They’re not lazy; they just want to be efficient.

Older generations often see Millennials as lazy due to their insistence about flexible work hours, work/life balance, and their desire to wear jeans to work.  However, Tom Brokaw feels otherwise, and refers to Millennials as the “Wary Generation.” He believes that their “cautiousness in life decisions is a smart response to their world. Their great mantra has been: Challenge convention. Find new and better ways of doing things.”

  • 76 percent of Millennials believe “my boss could learn a lot from me.”
  • 65 percent of Millennials believe “I should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to technology and getting things done.”
  • 66 percent of Millennials believe that they want to invent their own position at their jobs.

For this younger generation, the amount of work accomplished should drive the work day, not the number of hours put in. This thought process encourages Millennials to work smarter, not necessarily harder. Where a Millennial runs up against a slow and clunky process, he or she finds workarounds to remove the roadblock. Bill Gates promotes giving the most difficult task to your absolute “laziest” employee. That way, they will find the easiest method for accomplishing the task. Sure, some Millennials may complain about their work, but it is not due to laziness. Their drive toward total efficiency and simplicity appears to be lazy to those who have a “well that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude.  One of the great things about this energetic generation is the drive to get things done. Give them responsibility and a results oriented business model, and they’ll be able to get the job done efficiently and effectively.

They’re not big-headed; they just want recognition.

While some critics may think Millennials are arrogant in the workplace, they’re really just exhibiting their desire to generate new ideas.

  • 33 percent of Millennials prefer recognition or a promotion over higher pay.
  • 90 percent of Millennials want senior leadership to listen to their ideas and opinions.

Years ago, young people understood the need to patiently move up the corporate ladder.  Today however, things are changing—the “flattening” of organizations AKA the decrease in the hierarchy of management levels means that moving “up” does not happen as often and is not always possible.  According to Deloitte, Millennials would like new jobs and new assignments every 12-24 months.  They’re not willing to wait three to five years for a promotion—thus the need to create more talent mobility and job rotations programs.

This generation brings an attitude of boundless energy, confidence, and innovation to the workplace. No task is impossible; they have the potential to tackle even the most difficult assignments with ease. When an organization knows what makes Millennials tick and fully understands how they operate in the workplace, they can leverage their “flaws” to ensure they are recruiting and retaining the next generation of caregivers to deliver high quality patient care.

*Full Disclosure: I am a twenty-something and I never go anywhere without my iPhone.

Are you interested in learning how leading healthcare organizations are using behavioral-based assessments to recruit and retain top healthcare talent? 

Download our white paper, Identifying Today’s High Performers and Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: Leveraging Behavioral Assessments for Healthcare Talent Managementto learn how you can revolutionize the way you attract, assess, select, and develop your employees. 


About Meghan Doherty

Meghan Doherty is a content marketing professional based in the Greater Boston area. She has more than five years of experience creating and managing content for SaaS companies in the healthcare and talent management spaces.