How to Attract and Retain Millennial and Gen Z Healthcare Professionals

As older physicians and healthcare workers are retiring, the majority of the workforce will be made up of young professionals from the Millennial and Gen Z generations. These candidates may be attracted to different job qualities or values than you expect, especially if you’ve been in the recruiting business for a while. The tried-and-true techniques that previously worked, might not have quite the same impact on the younger generations.

So, what can you do to make sure what you’re offering resonates with today’s up and coming healthcare workers? And how do you retain them?

Let’s dig into the Millennial and Gen Z mindset…

group of diverse cartoon people talking in line

Who are “Millennials” and “Gen Z”?

  • The generational lines get a little hazy at the top and bottom of the date ranges, but as a rule of thumb Millennials are anyone born between 1981-1997, and are currently around 25-39 years old. Millennials make up over 35% of the American workforce, a number that will continue to grow as Baby Boomers and Gen X retire. Gen Z includes an estimated 61 million people born between 1997-2015, currently aged 6-24.
  • There are more people in these generations than the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations, and they are also more likely to both change jobs and to look for jobs in nursing. This means there are more young candidates interested in new healthcare opportunities – you just have to reach them!
  • Candidates from these generations grew up in a time of technological expansion, economic changes, and dramatic cultural shifts. Because of this, they tend to look at a job offer as a comprehensive picture, not just a salary; they are interested in how a job fits into their daily life, and prioritize work/life balance.

What are younger generations looking for?

  1. A JOB WITH A MISSION – Millennials and Gen Z want to feel like they are making a difference, and know that their employer prioritizes that as well.
  2. FLEXIBILITY – The ability to move up or laterally within an organization is highly important, and also helps you to retain more talent. Other flexible working options, like remote work, on-demand staffing, and same-day pay for hourly workers, can make a demanding job much more appealing, and helps to avoid burnout.
  3. BENEFITS – paid leave, retirement plans, health insurance, debt relief for student loans in certain positions, flex time and childcare reimbursement are all important benefits to consider for these generations. If you can think of unique bonus opportunities, or out-of-the-box compensation plans that might be specific to the role, candidates will give extra thought and care as they consider the job.
  4. MENTORSHIP AND LEARNING/LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITY – Millennials and Gen Z are often thought of as rejecting all “old” ways. But in fact, these generations are eager to learn and thrive on challenge and opportunity. They look for ways to move up or take on new roles within the workplace, and value mentorship as a way to learn more and feel connected to a unified purpose. Hospitals and healthcare providers that succeed at recruiting and retaining these candidates have emphasized clear training and leadership programs, connecting more experienced employees with early careerists in a structured environment, and offer team-building exercises. This is not only good for your Millennial employees but will help build trust and morale for everyone on your team. Solid coaching, training, and inter-generational bonding helps you retain talented candidates and improve work performance.

How to recruit younger employees

  • COMPETITIVE SALARY AND TRANSPARENCY – These generations care a lot about workplace culture, sometimes more than they do about salary when making a decision. That doesn’t mean they don’t care what they get paid, but they do expect salary transparency and won’t undersell themselves. A competitive salary shows candidates you know what they’re worth.
  • CLEARLY DEFINED DESCRIPTION AND ROLE – Candidates want to know what they’re getting into before applying; be sure to advertised is an accurate representation of what they’ll experience on a day-to-day basis. This is where strong employer branding comes in handy as it will help you to make sure a candidate already has an idea of what the job will be like, just by being familiar with your company brand. Be sure the role you’re recruiting for is clearly defined, including descriptions of benefits, perks, training, and advancement opportunities.
  • DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION – Make sure that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not just a box that’s checked by making a public statement. Follow through by looking at the numbers and taking stock of employee experience, especially from minorities and people of color (POC). Millennials and Gen Z have an eye on social justice and try to make sure their employer’s values reflect their own.
  • EMPLOYER BRANDING – Strong, cohesive, and personal branding goes a long way to convey your company image to the world and attract younger talent. Focus your branding on current employee experiences and your connection to the community that you serve. Utilize testimonials and employee spotlights on your social media to actively acknowledge the work of current employees and show potential ones what it might be like to work alongside them.
  • INTEGRITY – Millennials and Gen Z alike are looking for you to back up your promises. They are attracted to a cohesive brand, but they will look to see that the image you project is backed up in practice. These generations are tech savvy, and information-driven – they will do their research! They also value consistency and follow through. Call back and update candidates on the interview process; don’t leave them hanging. If candidates feel prioritized and cared for from the beginning, they can trust that your branding is built around real values that you aim to emulate in all aspects of the business.
  • KEEP IT PERSONAL – We’ve discussed what the millennial and Gen Z generations might be looking for, but you are ultimately looking for an individual, with unique strengths and experience all their own. Focus on what makes them unique, and your candidates will be drawn to your personal approach.
  • VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS – If you’re really interested in a candidate, set up a video interview rather than over the phone. It will create a more personal connection, which helps the candidate to feel a bond to the idea of the job right from the start of the recruiting process. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, 87% of remote workers feel more connected when they use video to chat. Apply this philosophy to your interview process, before they even start the job!
  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY – Make sure your website is WCAG compliant, easy to navigate, and the application process smooth. Clunky technology is a huge deterrent to candidates who grew up with a precedent set for constant technological improvement. Simplification and efficiency, remote interviews, mobile-friendly interfaces, and text communication, are all a part of the recipe for a tech-friendly recruitment approach.

The tactics for understanding and recruiting Millennial and Gen Z healthcare talent are ones that will be helpful to recruiters in almost any industry. A focus on work-life balance, competitive salary offers, meaningful work, robust training and mentorship programs, modern tech, flexibility, and integrity are all essential. We should all hope to offer and cultivate this kind of work environment. Be sure to communicate your value proposition clearly.

For the healthcare industry, it is easy to find the value proposition in the work itself. Employees are saving and bettering lives every day. In turn, showcase what you have to offer in the recruitment process that will better the lives of these promising candidates.

Contact our dedicated team of recruitment experts to help you design a cost-effective recruitment ad strategy.


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