What do you mean who is Gloria Steinem?

Last Sunday I was enjoying bagels and sun with my grown son, Jay, and a couple of his friends when I mentioned I was looking forward to hearing Gloria Steinem speak at the Smith College graduation in Northampton, MA. A friend’s daughter is graduating and as an alum, Ms. Steinem has been tapped for the commencement speech.

My educated, multi-lingual, well-traveled son looks at me and says “who is Gloria Steinem?” His two friends, also well-educated, echoed his question. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This was a child whose favorite TV show was CNN.

I starting listing her accomplishments and contributions and he replied, “those people sort of get lost in the wash of history. Who was that one that lost her business because she protested the war?”

“Her business” I mumbled, “you mean Jane Fonda? She was/is an actor. She didn’t lose her business.”

“Well she didn’t get parts—wasn’t that losing her business” Jay replied. “How old was I in like 1968? Oh yeah, ten years not born. It’s not so vivid for us.” The friends nodded.

When Jackie Beard, Director of Human Resources for Norton Healthcare of Louisville recently asked how she could message RNs with three or four years’ experience, I didn’t stop to think exactly who that audience might really be until Jay informed me he didn’t know Gloria Steinem. Jay is the age of the employees Jackie wants to reach.

More often than not, when we think about such out-of-the-box recruitment candidate drivers like Second Life and MySpace, we automatically think we have about as many new graduates as we can handle. We assume the new grads—or those still in school—are the only ones unfazed when they receive advertisements via their cell phone.

Once we get over the fact our life is being discussed in terms of history along with George Washington and the Boston Tea party, we realize, the group taking over the “experienced” ranks can only be reached in ways we may be uncomfortable with. It used to be that we just preached against classified ads in the Sunday paper, but now on-line is accepted as routine and everyone knows classifieds are ineffective.

I hate to think of myself as not keeping up, but when I read that WellPoint and the Mayo Clinic have been advertising on YouTube and iTunes I’ve had to re-examine my thought process about reaching candidates. WellPoint has taken to advertising on surfboards and the Mayo Clinic has been reaching out via the cell phone. These are not usually thought of as hip and trendy companies such as Juicy Couture and Red Bull.

My suggestion to Jackie is certainly to consider all the youth-centric communication options such as downloading continuing education credit classes via iTunes, but also consider who the Generation Y experienced healthcare professionals really are.

They are the most coddled group of children ever, not just by their over indulgent parents but also their grandparents and they want and expect answers immediately. If you have e-mail addresses for those professionals, consider relationship marketing. Communicate with them in the manner they are most comfortable with. Build a place on your website for the healthcare delivery professionals to log on and ask professional questions. Make it personal and you’ll have Generation Y becoming more and more loyal.

Create an Alumni landing page for people who have previously worked at your facility, so they can keep up with friends and events at the hospital. Use it to talk about your unique benefits, new technology and happy employees. A well-executed on-line Alumni program will go a long way in boomerang hiring as well as keeping current employees engaged and productive.

If you haven’t taken a look at Second Life, where Generation Ys, and others can create digital images (Avatars) of themselves allowing them to apply and interview for positions, then I suggest you do it soon. On Second Life, some CEOs maintain blogs along with their place of employment. Several companies are preparing to hold a Job Fair in Second Life. After all there are currently 6,070,283 inhabitants. Wonder how many can fill a prescription?

It’s not that I’m coming to terms with Jay not knowing Gloria Steinman, but rather that I’m coming to terms with my lack of ease in his world. I’m not sure how he feels about stamps these days, but I’m thinking they aren’t clipped to the visor in his car like they are in mine. I mean who uses stamps, Gloria Steinem?

If you have a question you’d like me to answer on this blog please email me at askgreta@tmp.com. I will continue to answer questions every few weeks and look forward to hearing your challenges.

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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