When it comes to healthcare workforce retention, special focus needs to be applied to millennials. They're already the largest generational group in the workforce, and they'll soon be the majority of all employees, exceeding 50% next year. Two workplace characteristics stand out as essential for holding on to these vital employees—the commitment to being socially conscious and technologically advanced.
A Socially Conscious Environment
Millennials want to know that an organization is socially conscious. That means ethical, respectful of diversity, and attentive to employee health and wellbeing. A culture incorporating these values is really important to them. They don't want to be in a negative situation or one that doesn't support these issues. It’s not surprising that 44% of leaders say that social enterprise issues are more important in their organization than they were just three years ago. 56% are expecting this commitment to be even greater three years from now.
A socially conscious approach includes training and educating staff on issues that are important not only for employee engagement, but also for the safety and health of the community. In actuality, most employees, especially millennials, are looking for organizations with a socially responsible mission. Any evidence of abuse or illegal treatment and practices can damage your organization's brand and affect hiring, not just retention. Demonstrating concern about societal and community issues can raise your reputation, improve retention, and ultimately increase your bottom line. For example, when we look at preventing sexual harassment, we have the “Me Too” movement that has had an enormous impact in the last couple of years. Another positive effort would be addressing the opioid abuse crisis which is destroying our communities. Initiatives that try to improve community and society affirm the qualities that millennials are looking for that will keep them engaged in their jobs and organizations.
The Importance of Technology
How important do you think technology is to millennials? An organization’s commitment to technology is likely to determine whether it retains its millennial workforce. That is even more essential than being a socially conscious organization. One survey shows that 53% of millennials would rather give up their sense of smell than technology. Computers, phones, and other technology can almost be thought of as another sense for them. It's how they literally sense the world, and they've never been without it. Our workplaces need to provide the most modern technology available and continue to improve it as our tools progress. Older generations and especially managers may get frustrated with millennials on the job who are always occupied with their phones. However, it is important to remember that this is an extension of who they are. Other generations are going to be the minority, if we aren’t already, and generations coming up behind them will not see this as abnormal in the least. But it's vitally important to understand now for the success of future talent management efforts, especially for retention.
This blog post is the fourth in a series based on the HealthStream webinar, Navigating a Multigenerational Healthcare Workforce, led by Leana D. McGuire, Director of Learning & Development at United Surgical Partners. She has been an RN for over 25 years, graduating with her nursing degree in Canada. Leana spent most of her nursing career working in the CCU and as a heart transplant coordinator, but after obtaining a degree in organizational development, she transitioned from the bedside to focus on her passion for leadership and staff development.