Article by Anne-Lise Gere, SPHR, independent Human Resources consultant and owner of Gere Consulting Associates LLC.
Step aside, baby boomers – the largest generational group in the U.S. workforce is now officially millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997. With more than 75 million millennials at work, it’s crucial to both understand and meet the needs of this generation in order to attract and retain them.
While of course it’s unfair to lump an entire generation into one cohesive personality, there are, interestingly, some predominant characteristics of each that stand out:
- Baby Boomers: Strong work ethic, disciplined, resourceful, competitive, goal-centric and team-centered
- Generation X: Independent, self-sufficient, comfortable with changing jobs, “work to live” rather than “live to work”
- Millennials: Seeking meaning and purpose, highly tech-savvy, flexible, more likely to view management as mentors than superiors, task-oriented over time-oriented
So how does this translate into millennials as caregivers, and is it important to take extra measures to ensure you’re speaking directly to this generation in your recruiting efforts, as well as your efforts to keep them on staff? You bet. With a shortage of quality caregivers already causing a strain in the home care industry, all predictors point to a continuation of this trend into a full-blown caregiver crisis. Without millennials on staff, your agency is sure to suffer. Millennials are your biggest human resource today and into the future.
To ensure your pipeline is filled and ready to meet the needs of the silver tsunami, keep these suggestions in mind to let millennials know there’s a place for them at your agency:
- Share your why. One of the key personality traits common in millennials is the desire to see the big picture, and to understand how their contributions are making a difference. Why would they want to work for you? In the aging care industry, this translates into treating each caregiver as the vital part of the team he or she truly is. Caregivers can have a dramatic effect on quality of life for older adults in a unique one-on-one setting. Make sure you emphasize the enormity of their impact.
- Share your story. Seeing your role as a mentor for millennial caregivers, and establishing a connection with them, can begin with sharing your own experience in their shoes. Did you decide to start your own agency after caring for an elderly family member at home? What challenges did you encounter along the way? How did you feel in your role, and what could have made it easier?
- Share feedback. Millennials – like all of us – need to be recognized for a job well done, as well as coached in areas in which they can improve. Although annual or semi-annual performance reviews for documentation purposes are important, make an effort to offer as much less formal recognition as is warranted.
It’s also helpful to be mindful of the importance of technology to this generation, whose members literally have not lived a day when computers, cell phones, the Internet, and a number of other digital devices were not a part of everyday life. If your application process includes completing a 6-page handwritten paper document, and your follow-up plan involves a phone call or mailed response, it’s a good time to rethink these practices to be more in line with today’s technology.
Want more tips on the best ways to recruit caregivers to ensure your caregiver pool is overflowing with high quality staff? Contact the home care marketing experts at corecubed for help with translating your why into messaging that attracts and retains both quality caregivers and clients, and Anne-Lise Gere for professional, industry-specific home care HR consulting.