3 Steps to Unlock the Hidden Potential of Millennial Clinicians

By Clean Hands - Safe Hands

Millennials are the future of healthcare. Now, more than ever, they make up the majority of the otherwise shrinking workforce, and are now responsible for most patient care. If hospitals are going to succeed in the competitive future of healthcare, they need to unlock the hidden talents within the staff.

Millennials frequently get an undeserved bad reputation for wanting to save the world, needing constant praise, and incessantly questioning things. Instead of fighting these beliefs, you can leverage them to unlock their unlimited potential. If your organization can do this successfully, you can not only dramatically improve your clinician retention and satisfaction, but also transform your entire organization.

Here are the three most important, and often overlooked, things we have seen in the last 10 years working with Millennial clinicians:

Step 1: With Generation Y, Focus On the Y

Millennials (Generation Y) grew up with having virtually any answer at their digital fingertips. As a result, they have an insatiable desire for understanding everything around them and constantly asking “Why?”

In many cases, more experienced leaders get easily frustrated with this constant stream of questions and focus on the “What” without the “Why.” If you focus on the “Why” and then engage Millennials to help develop the “What”…real magic happens. Not only do you take individuals who would have otherwise been frustrated and engage them, but in most cases, they come up with much better solutions.

Step 2: Don’t Put Any Limits On Them

Millennials grew up believing they could do anything and everything. So why not let them?

Millennials have big dreams, and the most talented ones become disengaged when they are in an environment where they can’t make a difference. Not only does this frustrate everyone, but it ultimately hurts the organization as a whole.

Now I am certainly not advocating that you let all your Millennial clinicians run loose through the hospital eating avocado toast and spending all day advocating for social justice. There has to be a balance.

Give them the opportunity to speak up and devise ways to make your hospital better…then let them run with it. They will need some help and mentorship along the way, but if you can leverage their talent, it will both engage them with your hospital and transform your organization along the way.

Step 3: Give Them Trophies!

Okay, I realize that this one is not exactly a secret and has become so cliché that it’s almost laughable, but for better or worse, Millennial clinicians grew up on an endless stream of trophies. They have become accustomed to a constant stream of recognition and praise.

So why stop? Giving everyone participation trophies isn’t the answer, but you can leverage this trend.  The younger clinicians will become more engaged and productive with small, well-deserved praise. The hospital executives we work with are constantly amazed by how much we can accomplish with a few Starbucks® gift cards.

The real secret with these three simple steps is not Millennial-specific. Millennials get the blame, but the truth is that no matter what generation someone is part of, everyone responds to these three steps. If you can implement, them you will quickly find that, while Millennials will lead the way, everyone else within your organization will follow right behind.


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