Sure, the younger generation relies on technology and constant communication, and these qualities are a huge asset to your veterinary team.
I'm sure you've heard at least once that millennials are lazy, especially in the workplace. It's easy to see how changes in parenting strategies and schooling and an immense increase of communication through smartphones and social media have raised a different generation of employees.
Now it's your job to get excited about the opportunities millennials bring to your practice. Expect to learn from millennials just as you expect them to enter the workplace willing to learn from more experienced team members. Here are five ways to ensure your millennial employees survive-and thrive-in your hospital.
1. Take advantage of their tech skills
You might think millennials are obsessed with technology, and honestly, it's probably true. But that's not a bad thing. How many times have you asked a younger employee for help with your phone or computer? I'm going to guess it's happened at least once. This is how you can leverage millennials' love of technology to help the hospital flourish.
Ask one of your reliable younger employees to manage your clinic's social media presence. Millennials know the ins and outs of social media and how to draw people in. Social media grows more important for your business each year, especially when most of your clients will find your hospital through the internet. Clients also love feeling engaged with their veterinary hospital, and millennials are perfectly positioned to keep up with the social aspect of the hospital's marketing.
2. Call on their creativity
Because they've been exposed to all types of media all of their lives, millennials tend to be more creative. Ask your young employees to suggest changes in your hospital. It could be as simple as jazzing up the reception area bulletin board or something as important as improving a hospital protocol. Just because they don't have years of experience doesn't mean they won't have helpful suggestions to improve your practice. Although you may not implement every suggestion, you're sure to get at least one great idea for your hospital.
3. Appreciate their communication
It's often noted that millennials need to communicate more than the employees who came before them. This may be because of parenting styles and how they were raised. But it may also be because they're used to the ease of instant communication.
Millennials tend to work better when they receive frequent feedback on their performance. They want to know your expectations and goals for them, and they need continuous feedback on how they're doing.
While it may seem tedious at first, this increased level of communication can only improve your hospital's efficiency and overall morale. All employees, no matter their age, will appreciate the extra praise and guidance.
4. Focus on goal-setting
Gone are the days when your young, new employees do the bare minimum just to earn a paycheck. Millennials tend to take jobs that specifically come with room to grow. They're constantly looking for more responsibilities and ways to move up.
Don't see this as competition. It's an opportunity to delegate a few responsibilities to each of your employees, not just the millennials. This will even out the workload and give each employee something to focus on and be proud of.
In addition to doling out responsibilities, help them grow into successful team members. They will rely on your experience, skill and guidance to get to the next level. Encourage continuing education and personal growth. In the end, your hospital will be stronger because of each employee's drive and productivity.
5. Promote persistence
Millennials tend to get a bad rap, and they're sometimes called spoiled and impatient. Critics often point to the “easy” life millennials have lived compared to their older coworkers. Whether or not this is true, their impatience can often create persistent and hardworking employees. They won't want to drag their feet; they work quickly and efficiently. When you have a time-sensitive task, ask your younger employees to handle it. They are eager to complete tasks promptly and to the best of their abilities.
Millennials are the future. You can spend your time resisting the change that comes with their generation or you can embrace it and use it to your advantage. Wouldn't it be best to find all their strengths and pass on yours as well? Because as millennials age and generation Z starts entering the workforce, your millennials will need to be prepared to nurture and guide new employees in the same way you've mentored them.
Ciera Sallese is a CVT, VTS (Clinical practice), at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania.