Tip of the week: Consider generational differences during recruitment

Residency Program Insider, September 29, 2009

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“The times they are a-changin’,” Bob Dylan sang in 1964. For the physician work force in the United States, such lyrics have never been more applicable.

Those changing times have forced employers across the country to find new ways to adapt, as younger generations join the work force and new perceptions about lifestyle, authority, and tradition emerge among employees. The resident and fellowship work force is no different. Consider the follow tips to recruit the best of Generations X and Y.

  • Younger generations are used to instant communication, and they value speed. They also value collective action, volunteerism, and inclusiveness. In recruitment materials or during the interview day, highlight team initiatives undertaken by residents and faculty members in your program and residents who participated in medical missions. If residents meet with interviewees, either formally or informally, ask residents to describe the culture of the program as well as clinical experiences.  
  • There’s no question that technology is very attractive to younger generations. Consider creating Facebook and Twitter profiles, or even a blog, for your program. Don’t just set up the profiles and wait for candidates to ‘friend’ or follow you. You need to actively interact with them. Post updates about presentations made by residents or faculty, awards won, or other interesting program updates and events.
  • Although salary and earning potential certainly play a part in any job candidate’s search, residency programs may recruit more top candidates by offering positions that fit their needs. Administrators may focus on the following trends in structuring their policies and programs:
    • Legitimize part-time appointments
    • Respect work-life balance
    • Develop rewards for overtime work
    • Explore ways to make some specialties more attractive for younger generations
    • Implement alternative training methods
    • Request feedback from both faculty and trainees
    • Discuss definitions of “professionalism”
    • Help trainees develop the skills to build bridges across patient generations
    • Focus on orientation
    • Make communication a priority

This week’s tip is excerpted from HCPro, Inc.’s monthly newsletter, Residency Program Alert.

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