by Veterinary Practice News Editors | September 12, 2016 4:55 pm
As I talk to veterinary practices about how they engage with their clients or team members, I have heard a great deal of talk about the millennials. Who are they, anyway?
Demographers usually refer to millennials as those born between 1982 and 2004. The name derived from the new millennium starting at the end of 1999 and beginning in the year 2000.
Over time, we have seen generations that shared “defining moments” that resulted in some common characteristics. The following is a chronology of four such groups:
While it is never fair to paint any group of people with a broad brush, it is true that different periods give rise to people with, in general, different characteristics.
We are aware how our veterans changed the workplace during World War II. Rosy, the Riveter represented the women who entered the workforce while the men went off to war. We also saw a hunger for education, when veterans returned after the war.
The Boomers represented the surge of births after the war, when parents looked forward to a more secure future. This generation became the hippies and dreamers. Aware of the atrocity of war, some opposed war and fought for social changes related to race, women’s roles and the “war on poverty.” We recognize them also for their musical legacy — notably rock and roll.
Then came the Generation Xers, many of whom were “latch-key” children, when both parents went to work. They lived through the Watergate Scandal, the Three-mile Island nuclear episode and the disaster in Chernobyl, which may explain the cynicism this group expresses toward institutions, whether they are religious, political or corporate.
And what of the millennials? Practice leaders I have met find that it is important to understand the millennials and their differences if they hope to call them clients and team members.
Take a look at these six characteristics and see if they help you understand those clients and colleagues you know who are under the age of 34.
Whether as members of your staff or as clients, their expectation is that everything will be “online,” quickly and easily accessible with technology. The advantage to you is that these younger employees will be competent in establishing and maintaining your website or social media presence. They will be able to quickly adapt to electronic medical records or the use of media to educate and inform. As clients, they can make appointments and approve a treatment plan quickly, electronically.
The team interaction in your practice may be different as you add team members with varying diversity. Look to your millennials to demonstrate greater tolerance, respect, and appreciation of differences.
Scheduling work may change as you add millennials to your practice. That was the experience of Frankie Williams, formerly a hospital director and now owner of Williams Consulting & Coaching Group. She told me that she found that millennials are committed to family and fitness activities and don’t want their work to interfere. She said that they are good workers but want to know their work schedule in advance, so they can plan social activities with their friends. “They want a life,” she said. “In fact, working with millennials has taught me about living.”
As the milliennials increase in the profession they are likely to change the profession! Be ready for the changes.
Carolyn C. Shadle, Ph.D., is the co-owner of ICS Workplace Communication (www.veterinariancommunication.com ). Shadle was awarded her Ph.D. by the State University of New York at Buffalo in interpersonal and organizational communication and has trained managers and team members in businesses as diverse as General Mills and Oracle’s Sun Microsystems. She is a certified Myers-Briggs assessor and trained with Gordon Training International. Find her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.
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