Attracting Gen Z workers presents challenges for healthcare facilities. At about 25% of the current workforce, Gen Z (1997 to 2015) has its own ideas on what they expect and need from their careers and potential employers. While their dedication to providing care and service to the community is a given, their demands from the institutions they choose are more specific. To attract and retain Gen Z staffers, facilities will need to understand what motivates them and what deters them.
Boomers are retiring at a rate of about 10,000 per day. The next workplace population, Gen X, will begin to retire in the next 10 years. Millennials and Gen Z will become the majority of the workforce globally before 2030. To assure your institution can attract and retain the best talent, focus on Gen Z.
What does Gen Z want at work?
A recent survey from Washington State University reveals Gen Z’s priorities and preferences for the workplace. The findings offer insight to healthcare providers on how to attract and retain. One key finding was concern for the future. The majority of the study’s over 1,000 respondents, 60%, expressed their worry about potential downsizing in their organization.
A key element to attracting this talent may be the stability of the healthcare industry. In addition to attracting workers with healthcare credentials, this stability may be a strong pull for administrative and other staff. When looking at individual wants for their career and from their employer, Gen Z has strong opinions:
- 83% want to make a positive impact on the world
- 75% want a healthy work/life balance
- 70% want to work for an organization whose values align with their own
- 63% expect to be able to move up the ranks quickly
For workers who are dedicated to healthcare professions, institutions are already ahead of the game when it comes to recruiting Gen Z. They know their contributions make a difference to patients and the community at large. For non-health centric positions, leveraging that desire can be a strong recruitment tool. Job postings for every position in your facility should strongly promote how workers at your institution make a difference every hour of every day. Whether working directly with patients and their caregivers, or supporting the work they do, healthcare employees are making a positive impact on the world, beginning in the own communities and extending their reach beyond.
Apart from public safety, healthcare is one of the few major industries that runs 24/7/365. The availability of shifts throughout the day, night, and weekends makes it easy to find the right hours to create a work/life balance that promote healthy professional and personal goals. With this strong priority in mind, job postings should promote flexible shifts that accommodate the needs of potential hires. With so many options available in a 24-hour facility, there’s generally something to meet the needs of the institution and the potential hire.
Once again, healthcare beats the competition in aligning organization and personal values and beliefs. This advantage shouldn’t be taken lightly. Gen Z has grown up on social justice and supporting institutions and causes that promote and deliver on the greater good. Postings that prominently outline your organization’s values and mission will speak to this cohort. They’re looking for somewhere to make a long-term job commitment. The more closely your mission aligns with their career ideals, the better chance you have to attract and retain Gen Z.
Another key finding of the Washington State survey was the desire to move up the ranks quickly. Career progression is key to Gen Z candidates, and organizations that recognize and acknowledge career advancement will attract them. For positions that have a clear trajectory up the institutional ladder, it will be easy to illustrate advancement.
For positions that remain constant, facilities would do well to create ranking systems within the position to outline career growth. Even the military has ratings for its generals – from one to five star. For nursing staff, as an example, tenure could translate to additional stars on their name badge, or title additions – senior, advanced, expert, etc. Don’t allow your facility to be satisfied with annual increases alone; add annual or incremental title advancements to enhance your workers’ status within the institution and to the public they serve. Make sure your job postings reflect career advancement is available to all category of workers.
Attracting Gen Z to your healthcare facility will be a critical aspect in attaining and maintaining headcount. Consider how their priorities align with yours when you recruit and hire. You may find you’re more in sync with this cohort than