Millennials and the Multi-Generational Workforce

Millennials (those born between the early 80s and early 2000s) are now the largest living generation in the United States. According to Pew Research, in 2016 there were 75.4 million Millennials in the U.S.

And that means Millennials are becoming a larger and larger percentage of our workforce.

A recent post in Becker’s Hospital Review, discussed ways of engaging Millennials as part of a multi-generational workforce. The author, Michael Dowling points out that “it’s critical that we work extra hard to understand how the younger generations think, what motivates them, how they behave and how they prefer to communicate.” He goes on to warn that leaders who are not mindful of the work styles and ways to engage Millennials will have difficulty retaining this huge segment of the workforce.

Dowling writes, “In healthcare, when we have others’ lives and wellbeing in our hands, employees who aren’t fully invested in their jobs pose a threat to patients, as well as to the organization’s reputation and bottom line.” He goes on to share “5 keys for engaging the Millennials in your hospital’s workforce.” I wanted to share them here, certainly for working with our millennial workforce, but also because there is some universality as well:

1. Show employees how they contribute to the bigger picture.
2. Provide feedback and recognition consistently.
3. Make it clear how to move up in the organization.
4. Commit to employees as much as you ask them to commit to you.
5. (As a leader) Don’t just be a name — be a face.

While these may be particularly relevant to this meaningful and important chunk of our workforce, they are pretty darn good principles, period.