With a rapidly aging population, the demand for home healthcare providers has peaked. Today 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and older. By 2050, this number is projected to jump to nearly 17 percent—a whopping 1.6 billion people. Meanwhile, healthcare jobs are growing seven times faster than the rest of the economy, in part to ensure this population can age in the comfort of their homes.
While this population spike presents many opportunities for the industry, it doesn’t come without challenges. At this rate, it looks like demand for home healthcare aides will far outpace the sector’s growth.
Moreover, the aging population means that the workforce is fast retiring. Many agencies are finding they don’t have enough staff to cover shifts, let alone meet the ever increasing demand. And in the midst of high turnover raters, it’s taking a record-long time to fill positions because of a shortage of skilled healthcare workers.
Many organizations are turning to technology like automated field service management solutions to help balance the lack of skilled personnel. However, to truly thrive in this changing landscape, healthcare providers must learn to hire and maintain the next generation of workers—millennials.
Understanding Generational Differences
Today millennials make up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. But they aren’t easy to engage or retain. It’s important for organizations looking to recruit millennials to understand this generation and how they differ from Baby Boomers.
While Baby Boomers ultimately seek job satisfaction and report to their “boss,” millennials crave development and look to managers as a “coach.” To a Boomer, a job is part of life and a mean to an end, but to a millennial a personal life and growth matter much more.
Above all, millennials are driven by a sense of purpose. Unlike many Baby Boomers, they desire more than just a paycheck from their jobs. They want their job to have meaning, and feel that they are having a positive impact in whatever they do. The good news this makes an industry like home care more attractive to millennials.
With this in mind, let’s look at a few ways home healthcare organizations can recruit, hire, and retain this key generation.
1. Make the Mission Statement Matter
More often than not, company mission statements are just a boilerplate exercise done only once. But rallying millennials around a mission and purpose can dramatically increase employee engagement and attract this generation to your organization. Write a stronger mission statement and consistently promote it throughout your organization and processes. In the case of healthcare, the mission should highlight the importance of patient interactions and the fact that healthcare aides get to help patients every day.
And don’t just make an executive decision. Get feedback from the organization and ensure everyone is on board and in agreement with the vision. Millennials are much more engaged at work when they strongly agree in the purpose of their company.
2. Encourage Professional Development
While older generations typically stay in the same job for several years—or even their entire career—millennials are more prone to job hopping. This might have to do with the fact that millennials are constantly seeking growth and development. If you want to keep them around, it’s important to provide opportunities for them to mature their skills.
One way is to invest in training programs. Though skilled technically, much of this younger generation lacks in soft skills like communication and problem solving, so that might be a good place to start. Moreover, millennials crave consistent feedback. Rather than going with the traditional annual review process, implement a more frequent feedback loop. And finally, show them you value their education by implementing perks such as tuition reimbursement or student loan repayment plans. With nurses especially, student loan debts can be substantial, so this is a major incentive.
3. Update Your Technology
Most millennials are comfortable with modern technology, and expect to have access to it at work. Maybe more so, they tend to be impatient with outdated and inefficient process that get in the way of the work they truly care about doing. Things like unnecessary manual paperwork and inefficient routing might dissuade this generation from joining your workforce.
Take a look at your current technologies and make upgrades to older legacy systems and tools. With budgets so tight, this may seem out of reach. But cloud solutions like SaaS-based field service management software can give millennials access to the latest applications and information. Many organizations are taking advantage of these solutions to optimize scheduling, increase planning accuracy, and improve routing.
With home healthcare demand on the rise and a hiring crisis in the midst, it’s important to make hiring millennials a top priority. Successful organizations will be the ones who understand this generation, and prioritize things like company culture and modern technology.
For more on home healthcare and employee engagement visit the ClickSoftware blog.