An often misunderstood group of young men and women, the millennial generation is in the now—instant access, instant gratification, instant ramen. Well, the last one is more out of necessity than desire, but the point stands. Millennial physicians, surprisingly, are of no exception.
This age of employee has single-handedly warped the way we think about a workplace and how it should operate. When the time comes for that no-nonsense procedure or delivery of bad medical news, you can expect your young physicians to be professional and present. However, they may also want time to themselves when the going gets slow.
What can you do to create a hospital culture that not only appeases your millennial staff, but also makes them want to stick around for the long run?
Millennial physicians need to be fed
Our economy is doing strange things right now. The prices for essentials, like food and healthcare, are on the rise, while things that aren’t necessities, like household furnishings and the latest iPhone, are more affordable than ever. Millennial physicians feel like they are bearing the brunt of this injustice.
These doctors have come to expect certain perks from any job they have. Only they don’t think of them as perks—they are standards they expect. On the top of that “gimmie” list is food.
In all reality, it isn’t a huge inconvenience to keep the hospital’s fridge stocked with snacks. Besides, would you rather have a well-fed, alert doctor working with a patient, or a “hangry” 20-something leaning over an operating table after pounding four Red Bulls they resorted to for their lunch break?
Millennial physicians embrace diversity
Millennial physicians consider themselves more in tune with cultural biases and want more equality in their workplace. In fact, millennials are America’s most ethnically and racially diverse generation ever. They are more accepting of all kinds of people and seek out employers who echo those same unbiased beliefs.
Paul Polizzotto, founder and president of CBS EcoMedia, says it’s best to embrace this way of thinking with millennials to achieve a healthy work culture.
“My business philosophy is in alignment with the millennial view,” Polizzotto said. “I firmly believe that the key to innovation and creative problem-solving is to bring a wide variety of perspectives to the table.”
Millennial physicians crave knowledge and growth
As the first generation to grow up completely connected to the world through technology, millennials are well-educated and continually seeking to increase their knowledge. Because of this insatiable desire to learn, this generation of physicians is extremely confident and ready to lead, innovate and challenge the status quo.
“Do not expect the millennial generation to wait their turn to lead; they will be leading early and often on many different fronts,” said Stacy Potts, MD, MEd, FAAFP, in her article “The Next Generation of Physicians: Embracing Change in our Workforce.”
Millennials still strive to do great things, but they often think of jobs as stepping stones to the next big point in their lives. They want to learn and be challenged, and you should create an environment that promotes those aspirations.
Just a fair warning though—millennials are known to be job-hoppers, and it is up to you to create a workplace that they will be inspired to work at for years to come.
How can you as an employer work to retain your young generation of physicians? While there is no guarantee of retention, you can try to create a working environment that caters to their needs. That means keeping them fed, respecting equality, and nurturing their desire to grow.