Attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees should be a major priority for health systems.
This group now makes up the largest share of the U.S. workforce and is projected to make up 75% of it by 2025. Hospitals must improve employee retention when it comes to Millennials in order to avoid costly employee turnover from this increasing majority in the workplace.
Here are some suggestions for attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees:
Promote Your Mission
Many Millennials have a desire to find purpose in their work. Research conducted by Great Place to Work found Millennials are six times more likely to plan to remain with their employer when they find “special meaning” in their work, and that “leading employers use different ‘meaning archetypes’ to help employees connect to their work and feel part of something significant.”
For example, Millennials tend to care about corporate social responsibility. An organization that prioritizes “going green,” charitable giving, or service opportunities may appeal to a Millennial job seeker. Jennifer Thew, a nurse and editor for HealthLeaders Media, suggests:
“Perhaps an opportunity to work at an organization that helps improve the health of patient populations who are dealing with poverty, poor health incomes, unemployment, or are part of an immigrant population could be attractive to a millennial nurse.”
The healthcare industry naturally fits into this category of meaningful work as most healthcare workers pursue this field with the desire to help others. But, it’s not enough to rely on that convenience; a facility must actively communicate its mission. As Benjamin Anderson, CEO of Kearny County Hospital, stated in an interview with HealthLeaders Media:
“If you don’t know your mission, then the default mission becomes to stay open another day, and I don’t know very many mission-hearted, bright medical providers or clinicians that get excited working for an organization whose goal is to stay open another day.”
Furthermore, he points out the importance of the employee’s and organization’s goals aligning:
“It really is about understanding each recruit’s motivations, and knowing the mission and purpose of the organization, and matching the two. If they don’t match, the person is not going to stay. If they do, it’s a very good thing.”
Prioritizing and nurturing your clinicians’ passion for helping patients and making a difference will improve employee engagement with their work and may also help prevent the burnout that often results from emotionally exhausting work, which is another major cause of turnover.
Invest in Education
Millennials are set to be the most educated generation thus far, and polls indicate that this generation of workers values continued learning. According to a recent Gallup report:
- 59% of Millennials “say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.”
- 87% of Millennials “rate ‘professional or career growth and development opportunities’ as important to them in a job.”
- Only 39% of Millennials “strongly agree that they learned something new in the past 30 days that they can use to do their jobs better.”
- Less than one in two Millennials “strongly agree that they have had opportunities to learn and grow in the past year.”
- Only one-third of Millennials “strongly agree that their most recent learning opportunity at work was ‘well worth’ their time.”
HealthLeaders Media describes how Fairview Health Services improves employee retention through its internal perioperative nurse training program, which it developed in response to serious perioperative nursing vacancies it was facing. The organization invests in its employees’ education by paying for the cost of the training and paying the nurses a salary while they learn. In return, hired nurses commit to work at their accepted position for at least two years.
In the article, Laura Beeth (Fairview’s System Vice President of Talent Acquisition) explains that “‘perioperative skills are not part of the prelicensure nursing curriculum while they attend college, so it is critical we have pipelines in place to teach these additional skills.’”
Additionally, partnering with nearby colleges can offer a mutually beneficial opportunity to fill any skills gap you may be experiencing with new hires. Hospitals & Health Networks reports that four Cleveland health systems are collaborating with a consultant to create a report “on what the future health care needs of the region will be and what the existing resources are at area colleges.” The colleges who participate will make curriculum changes accordingly.
Investing in education by offering Millennial healthcare employees plenty of opportunities to grow and learn will not only improve employee engagement, but also supply you with superior, skilled employees.
Promoting your mission and investing in education are two excellent ways you can improve employee engagement for Millennial healthcare employees. Be sure to check out Part 2 of our 2-part blog about attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees in which we will outline two more strategies to help you improve employee retention for this generation of workers.
Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 in a 2-part blog series.
By Stephanie Salmich