4 Steps to Attracting and Keeping Millennial Healthcare Workers

By Darren Bounds, CEO of Breezy HR

By now the notion of Millennial workers has been talked about ad nauseam in the media, but the realities are that with the dwindling Baby Boomer and Gen X workforce, healthcare will be one of the most impacted sectors by this decline. According to a report by the Governance Studies at Brookings, by 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the entire U.S. workforce.

Healthcare recruiters and managers find themselves adjusting and learning how to recruit and manage this new generation of workers. Below is a simple 4-step process that will ensure that your organization has the tools to better recruit and retain this vitally important group.

The Millennial Myth

The last several years have seen a bevy of mistruths and assumptions about today’s younger generation. Despite the media’s insistence that younger workers are entitled and loathe hard work, the exact opposite is true. Today’s young workforce is actually very hungry and eager to lead and to be integral, caring, ambassadors of their organizations. 

Healthcare and companies that serve the industry are waking up to the fact that they need to reorganize and become mission-driven so that they can attract and retain this loyal group. The healthcare industry – while facing many challenges by an ever-growing tech transformation – is at the forefront to help these workers find the word-changing environments these younger workers seek.

Becoming a millennial-attractive brand

According to a Gallup report, 59 percent of millennials say the opportunity to learn and grow is extremely important to them when applying for a job. With this in mind, healthcare organizations need to understand that showing millennials the opportunities for growth is paramount, both in the recruiting and retention process. 

In the words of Brandon Rigone in the Harvard Business Review, “Ultimately, millennials are consumers of the workplace. They shop around for the jobs that best align with their needs and life goals. More than ever, employers need to know and act on the factors that make their company appealing to these candidates. They have to make it easy for prospects to choose them over their competition.”

So how can healthcare businesses beat the competition and score awesome millennial talent? Let’s break it down.

Step 1: Overcoming Millennial Stereotypes
The rise of the tech culture and other stereotypes have made many organizations feel like that the way to the younger worker’s heart is via pool tables, coolers stocked with LaCroix and other amenities.

The reality is that today’s younger workforce is seeking a few key attributes in their organization:

  • Transparency
  • Defined career paths
  • Career and personal learning opportunities
  • Peer and manager recognition

By understanding these important cultural items, healthcare organizations should understand how their management structure, communication efforts, and review processes reflect these core beliefs. If they don’t match entirely, it doesn’t mean you need to blow up all your central processes. Instead, learn how you can use this group of workers to help transition your processes to better help them achieve their desired goals. 

Step 2: Provide a clear path for advancement
Millennials are ambitious. They want to understand that if they work hard for the organization, their hard work will be rewarded.  Gallup found that 87 percent of millennials rate professional or career growth and development opportunities as important to them in a job. In the recruiting process, it is important for recruiters and managers to clearly identify the steps that a potential hire will need to take, once they are hired, to develop the skills that are needed in their role, and the opportunities that lie ahead once they start to master those skills. 

Similarly, in the retention process, consistent, open and transparent feedback is crucial to helping workers understand where they stand in the organization and how their work is helping them move down the path that you have outlined for them.

Step 3: Creating and engaging employer brand
By nailing the first two steps, you should be well down the path of understanding how to recruit and retain millennial workers. Now, it’s time to engage your workforce and have them spread the word.  

Millenials want to work with a company whose brand is aligned with their values. Jason Dorsey, co-founder and millennial researcher at The Center for Generational Kinetics, believes the prevailing challenge for children’s hospitals is their ability (or lack thereof) to recruit millennial employees.

Faced with many misconceptions about what kind of working environment they offer, Dorsey suggests, “sharing behind-the-scenes videos talking to the culture, how you’re involved in the community and playing up the human side…

Especially in the healthcare space, every organization is a human-focused business. Relying on your inherent advantage in this space allows you to showcase this to younger workers.

Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Does your social media presence reflect your commitment to your mission?
  • Is your website compelling and easy to navigate?
  • What’s your Glassdoor rating? How can you improve it?

Sometimes the best ideas come from other industries. If you need a little more inspiration, check out the techniques used by these awesomely effective employer brands.

Step 4: Focusing on the candidate experience
While this is the final step, it is one of the most important. 

In today’s tight labor market, and especially in the highly-competitive healthcare space, candidate experience, whether good or bad, can be the thing that sets you apart to a younger worker. 

A cumbersome or clunky hiring process will go a long way in showing your candidates how far you have to go with their generation and will often show a disconnect on how you talk to candidates and how your organization truly operates. 

Here a few areas you may want to improve:

  • Technology. This is your gateway, so make the most of it. Tools like custom career sites, video interviews, and automated scheduling make it clear to candidates that, like them, you’re bullish on tech.
  • Meet your candidates where they are. Use SMS, video and remote work opportunities to make the recruitment process feel easy, natural and fun.
  • Ditch the old pathway of job-boards-to-job-hire and embrace incentivized employee referral programs, targeted sourcing techniques and long-term candidate nurture to both broaden and deepen your talent pools.

For an industry facing severe staff shortages and high competition for talent, a rock-solid millennial recruitment strategy is crucial to staying ahead of the game. Show them you care more than the other guy, and you’ll have no problem winning them over.

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About Darren Bounds: 

Darren Bounds is the CEO and Founder of Breezy HR, the applicant tracking system that keeps hiring human. As a passionate, design-minded technologist and serial entrepreneur, Darren has over a decade’s experience building HR tech that puts people first. Darren is also the former VP of Technology at Taleo, the worlds largest provider of HR software solutions. Darren believes great design can save the world and that HR should be human. When he’s not building products or businesses, you can catch him playing Overwatch. 

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