Trying to fill manager level positions in the health care field has become increasingly more difficult. Although current days to fill (ASHHRA) are 63 days, the challenge of finding interested applicants to interview is often a dilemma. The vacancy rate for management level positions (ASHHRA) is 4.3%, down from the year before. But, with baby boomers and veterans staying in the workplace, this trend will drastically change once the economy starts to turn and the boomers and vets begin to exit the workplace.
The age group that would be the main focus for management level positions is Generation X as they are the ones that have a number of years of experience and many years left to be a part of the workforce. Why aren’t they interested?
Let’s consider the traits of the average Generation Xer:
Flexible – less committed to one employer
Value work life balance
Great at multitasking
Friend – not family
Recognizing and valuing these traits will guide employers in how they might enhance both the recruitment and retention of Gen Xers for management positions. They do want different things! As recruitment begins for a manager level position, consider what might be done to help “sell” this position to a Gen Xer.
Did you mention the learning opportunities? (Remember this is the ME generation) They like a focus on productivity and appreciate a company that will recognize their learning goals. With work life balance at the top of their interest list, what opportunities do you have? Make sure they know about the time off benefits and any flexible work arrangements that you might have. It may get to the point, once the Boomers retire, that employers will need to consider more job sharing opportunities for manager level positions and even 10 or 12 hour shifts which allow the Xer more time to play. Xers also want a friendly work environment and open communication, especially ongoing feedback on their job performance.
Any programs that center around retention often need different rewards based on the generation of the recipient. Rewards that add value to Gen Xers can include anything related to technology, toys, PTO, family oriented rewards or adventure holidays.
We are all going to need to put on our creative hats to deal with this issue. As vet and boomer managers exit the workplace in the next few years, management level positions in health care, especially nursing, will become critical positions to fill. In order to be successful and have the outcomes that a company desires, understanding what drives the Gen Xer will be paramount to getting the positions filled with the right person.
Some additional suggested reading on this subject (suggested links):