Retaining Millennials in Healthcare

Retaining Millenials in Healthcare

Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, with about 100 million Americans in their teens, 20s, and early 30s. Born between 1982 and 2004, these young adults include the new generation of physicians you're recruiting—but they're not your traditional physicians. If you want to recruit—and retain—them, here's what you need to know.

Millennials are often characterized as civic-minded and positive in attitude. They reject the detached cynicism of Generation X and the anti-establishment stance of their Baby Boomer parents. Millennials have grown up during a time of drastic economic and technological changes—they've hardly known a world without smartphones, the internet, or mobile computing—so they can be flexible, open-minded, and quick to adapt.

On the other hand, their traits of confidence and tolerance may also be perceived as narcissistic and entitled. While they're versatile with technology and interconnected with their peers, they're also constantly texting and messaging—"oversharing" on social media and dependent on their phones to the point of addiction. Millennials put a priority on balancing work life with social life, but they expect to rise up the ladder quickly and receive the financial security that comes with it.

Keep in mind, though, that healthcare professionals born into the Millennial generation don't necessarily match the narcissistic stereotype of their peers. "The Millennial physician generation is a group of individuals shaped to serve others through personal experiences or events taking place in their lifetime," says Dave Dertien, physician recruiter at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, Marshall, MN.

Employers need to understand Millennials so they can tap into what this generation has to offer, Mr. Dertien says. Here's how:

Encourage mentorship.

"The Millennial physician is eager to learn and seeks knowledge," he explains. "Utilize this in creating mentorship opportunities between generations. Coaching and training between generations will satisfy the needs of the older doctors who want to share their legacy and the new physicians who respect them and want to be at their level, yet want to keep things fresh."

Allow work flexibility.

Millennial physicians want opportunities to move up in an organization quickly while maintaining a work/life balance. "Employers need to realize that pay is not as important as allowing for a flexible work schedule, reduced hours, and reduced call," Mr. Dertien says.

Tap into their tech skills.

"Millennial physicians are focused on providing medical care more effectively through technology and information sharing," he points out. So, employers should ensure that they are up to date with technology and are receptive to ideas from the younger generation on how to use it.

Finally, remember that you're recruiting a person, not a generation. "What we forget sometimes is that each Millennial is still an individual trying to be the best they only know how to be," Mr. Dertien says. "Most importantly, hospitals need to match doctors to jobs based on their skills and interests." Along those lines, be sure to define the doctor's role as accurately as possible, and be clear and up front on all aspects of career advancement, as well as the community, culture, partners, and perks... information that can be found in Pinpoint Interviewed Physician Profiles by PracticeMatch.

Understanding this forward-thinking generation is not difficult if you try. And, remember, they're basically attached to their smart phones, so reaching them is easy—they're only a text message away.