What Every Dental Practice Needs to Know About Engaging Millennials

Does your practice struggle to attract, recruit, and keep top Millennial talent? With the Millennial generation expected to make up 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020, that means adapting to this new generation isn’t really an option – it’s vital to the success of your practice.

So what can you do to become an “employer of choice” for Millennials? Start by gaining insight into how this generation thinks, what they value, and how they work. Millennials are looking for more than “just a job,” and are motivated by more than “just money.” They are drawn to organizations that offer innovation, collaboration, and flexibility.

Benefits to engaging Millennials include…

  • They bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to your workplace.
  • Their technical skills are superior – they’re comfortable using the latest technology.
  • They like taking on more responsibility and look for opportunities to grow and improve programs.
  • They think globally more than any other group and can translate that into work.

So, what does it take to keep this new breed of workers engaged? Keep reading to find out!


1. Be Clear on Your Brand’s Social Impact

Millennials seek out purpose and meaning in their work lives. This generation is particularly attuned to the world around them, caring deeply for causes like the environment, civil rights, and other social justice issues. Emphasizing social responsibility is a great way to keep Millennials engaged, and something that can be integrated into any office. Maybe it’s planning a company-wide day of volunteering, or offering PTO for individual volunteering efforts. Anything you can do to satisfy their craving for social impact is a step in the right direction.


2. Give Recognition and Feedback

Feedback, feedback, and more feedback. Millennials crave and value frequent feedback. Unlike the previous status quo where employees receive formal annual reviews, Millennials want to know how they’re doing “on the regular.” Give honest feedback in real time – and highlight positive contributions or improvements. Are they doing all the right things? Did they go the extra mile to calm a patient’s nerves? Are they a great team player? These little acknowledgments can make a big difference and boost office morale. Millennials want to feel like their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized.


3. Provide Development and Growth Opportunities

Millennials have particular needs and expectations when it comes to learning and career development. Many respond well to mentoring by more seasoned employees and prefer to learn by doing rather than being told what to do. If there’s a better way to do something, they want to try it. Consider bringing new technologies and training into your office, or setting aside time for your staff to watch a FREE webinar.


4. Allow Flexible Work Schedules

Studies show flexibility is one of the most important factors Millennials use to evaluate a job opportunity – they view work as a “thing” and not a “place.” While scheduling flexibility at work may seem like a productivity hazard, employers can actually benefit greatly from it. Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output and quality of work performed.


5. Place Value on Work-Life Balance

Although work and life for Millennials blend inextricably together, the need for flexible work schedules to support this work-life balance is important. They want schedules that work with their lives, including when and where they want to work. Maybe they want to work longer Monday through Thursday so they can take off earlier on Friday, or start at 9 instead of 8. It’s up to your practice to work out these details to fit each individual’s desires. As a dental professional, you can use these insights to build flexibility into the fiber of your company culture and workplace policies.


6. Develop a Strong Team

More than previous generations, this younger group of dental professionals values a collaborative work culture, and also thrive through in-person collaboration with colleagues and other members of the dental team. Millennials want their colleagues to feel like a “second family.” Plan fun team building activities and stick to regular morning huddles – they will pay off in the long run!


7. Be Open to Innovative Ideas

Having an open-minded culture is critical to your practice’s success. Being open-minded means you have the willingness to actively listen to other ideas and opinions. It also allows Millennials to get creative and feel comfortable sharing their ideas. Give it a try – you may be surprised by what these Gen Y’s can teach you!


8. Allow Some Level of Failure

Failures, mistakes, and mishaps all play a vital role in helping employees learn and grow. The most successful practices embrace failure, encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and allow employees to make mistakes – so long as there are learnings that can be applied to future projects! This will give your employees the confidence to try new things and be their full, confident selves. Your dental office is a wealth of knowledge, experience, and creativity – encourage failure and all the benefits that come with it, and reap the rewards.

Creating a welcoming and engaging environment for Millennials is a win-win for your practice. You get the benefit of an employee who is innovative, collaborative, and eager to take on more responsibilities. And your Millennial employee? They flourish when given opportunities to learn from others and grow their skills and experience.

How is your practice engaging and empowering millennial workers? Please share in the comments below!