Ahh, January. It’s the month of fresh starts, clean slates, and self-evaluation. Between fitness goals and declarations to read more and watch less, it can be tricky to decide exactly what New Year’s resolutions you should actually commit to. Well, when it comes to professional resolutions—specifically recruiting and working with millennial physicians—we’ve got a few ideas that should top your list. Grab your coffee and settle in for a good read that will change the way your health group or hospital thinks.
We all know millennials are a different breed; they’re unlike any generation the world has seen. We’ve heard the negative stereotypes, but don’t be so quick to judge; millennials have shown that they can put in just as many hours and just as much effort—if not more—than their older counterparts. They just come with a different set of expectations for their time on the clock.
With a new year before us, here are 10 resolutions to help you understand and connect with this wave of young physicians as you search for the golden nugget to add to your team or work to accommodate the young physicians already in your sphere of influence.
1. Understand the flat hierarchy.
Gone are the days of the “work for the man” mindset, even in the healthcare industry. Back in the day, employees started from the bottom and worked their way up. Today’s young physicians want to get their feet wet immediately. “Businesses have responded to this anti-hierarchy wave, largely driven by youthful employees,” says McGill University Professor Karl Moore. “Google doesn’t attract the world’s best based on a high salary; rather, they’re attracted to the casual work environment and wafer-thin hierarchy.” Show potential and current millennial physicians how you’ll give them exposure to responsibilities that go beyond a typical new physician’s job duties and that you promote an approachable culture—both factors in a flat hierarchy environment.
2. Accept the need for work/life balance.
Some millennials call it “sacred doctrine:” the dividing line between work and play. At a time when work questions can come through text or email when a physician is off the clock, prioritizing work/life balance for the work environment is important to millennial candidates. This isn’t a reflection of their work ethic, but rather a mental and physical precaution they take to make sure they maximize productivity at work and rejuvenate during their down time. In fact, most millennials say they would take a pay cut in exchange for more freedom. This work/life balance can look different at each hospital or clinic; perhaps you can reflect on how your physicians are currently required to fill out paperwork and patient reports. If there are ways to make these processes more efficient, then you’ve just identified a way to make your physicians’ day more productive. Also be careful to not overbook your physicians’ appointments—respect their schedules and be realistic with how much you expect from their time.
3. Be transparent with your needs.
Your millennial candidates and employees want to please you. While they want work/life balance, most aren’t afraid to dedicate the extra time it takes to answer a pressing medical question or finish patient paperwork. In order to channel this productivity, you need to be clear about what their responsibilities are upon hire. Communicate what you hope they’ll contribute, and challenge them with responsibilities that will expand their skillset. They’ll see the job opportunity as a way to grow and contribute to the field of medicine and a team of health professionals that are relevant and passionate.
4. Have meaningful, two-way conversations.
“I just love being criticized,” said no one ever. Millennials are used to having their opinion valued—especially given the opportunities social media gives us to share our voice. If you don’t already have regular two-way conversations with your physicians about progress, constructive criticism, and mutual feedback, then consider adding it to your schedule. Millennial physicians are ambitious by nature, and this is one of the many ways it shows.
If your practice or hospital doesn’t already, try encouraging communication between physicians and with patients more in order to solve problems. “Millennial physicians find peers to be the biggest influence when considering treatment options, with about half (42 percent) citing educational experiences driven by peers to be the most relevant for learning about new treatments (only 18 percent of non-millennial doctors agreed),” says a 2016 report by inVentiv Health agencies. The report also mentioned that millennial physicians like to encourage millennial patients to do research on their own. This collaborative mindset is an ingrained part of these young medical professionals’ education and mindset.
6. Let them have a voice.
Millennials aren’t afraid to share their opinions. Similar to the importance of having two-way conversations with your young physician candidates, understand that they value hearing and sharing opinions from all aspects of the organization. If they question the best course of action, they aren’t challenging authority—they’re looking for ways to be efficient and innovative. Millennial physicians won’t be as engaged when they’re expected to blindly follow orders that trickle down the ranks without being able to consult with fellow physicians or get to know other employees.
7. Embrace the benefits of social media.
Social media: you might love it, you might hate it, but you’ve got to use it. Social media has made its way into healthcare, and millennial physicians understand the impact social platforms have on sales, marketing, and brand awareness. In order to stay relevant this year, think about promoting your business through company social media accounts, or encourage your physicians, nurses, and other team members to post about highlights of their work day.
8. Show them the business side.
Healthcare and business go hand-in-hand; you need physicians and resources to care for patients, and you need patients to pay for physicians and resources. Teach your millennial physicians about the business process and how it works in your avenue of medicine. After all, they might be an owner or partner one day. In fact, you can ask your potential new hires if they have interest in the business side of the company during the interview process. Questions like this ignite ambition in millennial candidates and show them you are invested in their long-term success.
9. Give recognition for their accomplishments.
Someone once said, “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” People like to feel recognized, and they feel motivated when they know they’re doing a good job. Technology has brought us instant gratification to all our questions, online purchases, and GPS directions. Millennial physicians are no different in that they like to be recognized when they’re doing a good job, or otherwise be told how they could improve in order to succeed. Develop a culture of encouragement by personally or publicly complementing physicians when they do well, show your trust by giving them research opportunities, and mentor them as they learn to interact with patients and other physicians
10. Break up the workplace with socializing/fun.
While we’re on the topic of work culture (millennials favorite business topic), think about how your medical office or hospital has fun. Offering small perks, lightening up the decor, holding productivity contests, or challenging physicians to improve patient relationships can be great ways to lighten the mood. Taking the time to be more fun and social, when appropriate, can incentivize hard work and promote healthy co-worker relationships.
Millennial physicians have a lot to offer, but so do you. Try these New Year’s resolutions as you connect with millennial candidates and hires, and you’ll soon have a dream team of competent, happy physicians at your hospital/clinic.