Millennials, those born between 1981 and 2001, are now the largest generation in the United States labor force, surpassing Gen Xers and baby boomers. Every generation has its stereotypes, but it seems lately that millennials have been getting a bad rap. People say millennials are narcissistic, solipsistic, high-maintenance, lazy, addicted to social media, and have short attention-spans and a sense of entitlement. But for every stereotype there is a counter-stereotype that actually turns out to be true in more cases than none.
Millennials are high-energy, tech-savvy, creative, and, best of all, smart. In fact, they are the most educated generation of all time. These are people who grew up when the digital revolution was well underway, and they have come of age during times of severe financial crisis — after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Great Recession of 2007–2009. The past two decades have been marked by punctuated booms in technology and social reform, and millennials are adapting to change by challenging the status quo and thinking outside the box.
These millennial stereotypes in the workplace apply to healthcare, but are in no way cause for alarm. Studies show that millennials are very attracted to jobs in healthcare. The medical workplace is becoming more and more diverse with the influx of millennial healthcare workers. Healthcare workplaces need qualified healthcare professionals with up-to-date credentials and reliable skills that keep up with changes in the healthcare system. Because millennials are proving that they can deliver results, they are crucial to the viability of healthcare’s future.
Millennials are proving to be valuable assets, and many businesses are already making changes to attract, accommodate, and retain millennials in the workplace. They are making their companies more millennial-friendly. This enhancement of corporate culture provides an environment in which millennials, and even their employers, can thrive. It’s a win-win situation.
A few key observations that twenty-first-century workplaces have made about millennial employees include the following: Millennials don’t just want to work for a paycheck — they want purpose and appreciation. Millennials don’t just want job satisfaction — they want job engagement. Millennials don’t want to just fix their weaknesses — they want to develop their strengths. When businesses embrace the next generation of workers, regardless of the cloud of stereotypes floating above them, they are better able to meet their goals and grow.
The healthcare workplace comes with its own set of challenges. One of those is maintaining customer satisfaction through quality service. This means hiring the right healthcare workers from the upcoming generation. By the year 2020, millennials will make up half of the US workforce. This is good news because millennials are the largest, most diverse, and most educated generation of all time.
The differences among millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers have been grossly exaggerated. Millennials are just as qualified, motivated, and competent to work in healthcare as the generations that preceded them. Yes millennials come with stereotypes — all generations do. It is important, however, to remember that stereotypes are just that — stereotypes. They should not get in the way of an employer’s readiness to hire millennials. The next generation will be able to perform in the healthcare workplace just as well — if not better than — other generations.