We’ve all heard stories about the younger generations – the “slacker” Generation X, the inexperienced Generation Y (or N-Gens) – and how their work values and efforts are much different than the Baby Boomers who are starting to retire. Researchers have noted that the events happening while an individual comes of age greatly impacts how the person perceives work and how he or she will typically perform as an employee. A group of people reaching adulthood at a particular time, called a group of cohorts, tend to have similar characteristics.
With a shifting work population we will see changes in what an employee values, how they respond to authority, and what will motivate them to do their best. Truly, the workforce will look different in 10-15 years, and managers must prepare for the future.
That preparation starts during the recruiting process. By understanding a cohort’s characteristics, a recruiter can more effectively place an individual, and an employer can manage the professional to the greatest benefit for both the company and the employee.
The generations taking over for the retiring Baby Boomers are technically savvy and un-intimidated by authority. They communicate best when the conversation is interactive – even if the communication tool is an instant message or an email. Gen X’ers tend to be goal-oriented, adaptable, and independent; they have a strong interest in balancing work and life, and place more importance on their careers than on loyalty to an employer. For this reason, employers who offer opportunities for advancement and self-improvement will best motivate this cohort. Gen Y’ers like to work in teams, but have a strong need to assert their individuality. This group will work well in self-directed teams, in a position that offers flexible hours. Mentoring programs can be especially effective.
A physician recruiter takes time to understand the characteristics of different cohorts, as well as the qualifications, personality, and desired work environment of the candidate. At the same time, the recruiter become familiar with the client’s work culture and expectations. From this information, he or she can help place a cohort into the position that will work best for both the client and the physician.