As the health care workforce continues to age, the challenge of effectively recruiting younger staff has taken shape not only in this field but in others as well.
Attracting and retaining Gen Z workers — those born between 1996 and 2010 — can be challenging, notes Bent Philipson, the founder of Philosophy Care, which provides care guidance to skilled nursing facilities in New York and New Jersey.
Gen Z health care workers have different expectations and values than the workforce that preceded them. It is important for leaders to understand these nuanced differences and anticipate how to adapt to meet these needs, Philipson wrote in a recent article.
Priorities for Gen Z Health Care Workers
1 | Tech-driven facilities
Gen Z workers are digital natives and are comfortable with technology. While they expect employers to use the latest technology to improve patient care, they also want to see technology deployed to make their work more automated so they can have more time to focus on patients and their work.
2 | Attainable work-life balance.
This generation comprises highly motivated performers who recognize the importance of work-life balance. They want to work for organizations that offer benefits like flexible scheduling, remote work, employee-assistance programs and more time off. Gen Z workers who feel they have achieved a successful balance between their work and private life are likely to stay at one organization for a long time.
3 | Greater access to mental health support.
Mental health care is a growing concern for health care workers, and Gen Z workers are no exception. They want employers who prioritize mental health and provide employee resources for mental wellness, such as counseling services and stress-management. To improve mental health support, organizations also can provide regular mental health check-ins with staff, provide a safe space to discuss mental health concerns, and peer-support groups.
4 | Diversity and inclusion across the organization.
Gen Z workers want to work for employers who embrace diversity and create a welcoming environment for all employees. Hospitals and health systems can meet this need by promoting diversity in hiring practices, providing cultural competency training and creating employee-resource groups. Organizations also can partner with local organizations to support underrepresented communities in need of health care services.
5 | Social responsibility.
This generation is socially conscious and wants to work for employers who prioritize social responsibility and strive to make a positive impact on the community and the environment. Health care employers should be committed to engaging in community outreach programs, implementing environmentally friendly practices and supporting social justice causes.