Millennials and Perennials
According to a Wikipedia article
about them, 97 percent own a computer, 94 percent own a cell phone and 76 percent use instant messaging. Morley Safer described
them on 60 Minutes
as arriving at work around noon in flip-flops, expecting a manager to talk to them like a TV therapist instead of a boss. They are educated, ambitious and connected. They are Generation Y, the so-called millennials, those born in the eighties just entering our workplace.
A recent survey finds millennials want to choose their technology and are disinclined to follow company IT policies. There is a disconnect between what an organization provides and what these workers demand, who more often than not prefer instant messaging to face-to-face interaction or even e-mail.
You may have interviewed them already. They expect, but more importantly are likely to be attracted by, not just new technology but also choice suiting their needs. For an industry where the lowest person on the ladder gets the night shift and AM draws in the bargain, that's a challenge.
Those of us already working are likely to be over fifty. We have stuck around year after year--let's call us "perennials"--and we are, perhaps, less ambitious than our opposites. We prefer face-to-face interaction and eschew "instant" communication. Technology is a tool, not an extension of ourselves. Education is one thing, but experience often separates leaders and followers.
We perennials are in for a shock if we expect millennials to pay dues or listen to experience. According to one consultant, they need mentoring, opportunity and a fun working environment. Their personal activities are as or more important than work. "A rigid schedule is a sure-fire way to lose your millennial employees," she writes.
The last few people I've hired are over forty. But I can see internal customer service--how we treat others in our workplace--becoming as important as how we treat patients to attract and keep these new workers. This should be interesting.