How Can Health Care Facility and Design Leaders Engage Millennials?

January 24, 2017

By 2020, 50 percent of the global workforce will consist of millennials – the tech savvy, go-getting generation of 18- to 34-year-olds of present day. With retirement in sight for many baby boomers, the need to engage a new pool of health care facility and design professionals has never been greater.

If you’re a health care facility manager or design leader, consider taking the following steps to connect with millennials as part of your succession planning strategy.

STEP 1: Discover what motivates them.
Millennials take pride in their work and often search for roles where they can positively affect society. A 2016 Deloitte millennial survey found that millennials judge the performance of a business or organization on what it does and its impact on the greater society. To attract younger generations to health care design and facility management, help them connect the dots between their work and its effect on patient care and community health. Whether it is monitoring humidity levels in patient rooms or designing for active health care environments, explain the big picture of how their work contributes to a healing environment.

The good news – health care is at the top of millennials list of fields to pursue. A 2015 survey by the National Society of High School Scholars found 40 percent of high school aged students said they wanted to work in health care. While medical and nursing fields may be the most obvious career channels in health care, the hope is that college students majoring in architecture, engineering, and other related facility disciplines will also view health care as a viable and desirable avenue.

STEP 2: Help them network with others in the field.
When a health care facility or design leader leaves an organization or retires, he or she will likely take their professional network with them. As part of your succession plan, consider immersing your protégés in networking opportunities, so they too, can meet like-minded leaders that can benefit your organization and their professional growth. Trade shows, conferences, or membership group chapter meetings offer rich networking opportunities and will help keep millennials engaged and involved.

STEP 3: Invest in their training.
Millennials have a thirst for knowledge and are ambitious to climb the ladder early in their careers. In a 2011 study by PwC, “opportunity for progression” ranked highest (52 percent) among a list of employer characteristics deemed as attractive.

To retain and attract the Gen Y group, it’s critical to offer them ample training to help reach their career goals. If you’re in search of training opportunities specific to the health care field, consider the following courses and events:

STEP 4: Offer flexibility.
Flexible work styles are to millennials what flexible health care environments flexible health care environments are to the C-suite – sought-after, futuristic models that are driven by new-age technology. While baby boomers’ work styles tend to be more structured, millennials seek flexible work hours and environments.

Whether or not you are willing and able to offer flexible hours and work locations, there are some small actions you can take as a health care facility or design leader. For example, consider hosting team meetings in open or public spaces when deemed appropriate. Millennials like collaboration, so open environments (similar to the concept of flexible nurse stations) help drive the perception of flexibility.

STEP 5: Empower their creativity.
Millennials are creative by nature and like regular feedback and encouragement. The 2011 PwC study (mentioned above) found 51 percent of millennials surveyed said feedback should be given very frequently or continually.

As a heath care designer and facility leader, acknowledge the achievements of your Gen Y employees. Every bit of encouragement helps them take pride in their work and feeds their creative drive.

One notable creative exercise available to millennials takes place at the PDC Summit – the AIA/AAH PDC Student Challenge 2017. This program strives to stimulate critical inquiry, creative ideas, and the interaction between students, faculty, and health care planning, design, and construction professionals. Over a 3-day period, students gather together to solve a health facility challenge and present their creative solutions at the end of the program. This opportunity gives millennials the chance to show their talents and receive feedback from leaders in the field. All PDC Summit attendees are welcome to attend the presentations and meet the faces of the future. All of the team’s project boards will also be on display at the Welcome Reception and in the Tech Café on the exhibit hall floor.