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How to Attract and Retain Millennial Nurses

How to Attract and Retain Millennial Nurses

By: Eric Darienzo

You've probably noticed: Millennial workers are on the rise. In fact, according to Pew Researchthe generation born between 1982 and 2000 (which encompasses both Gen Y and Gen Z) now accounts for one-third of today's workforce

If you’re looking to hire Millennial nurses at your organization, it’s important to know what they’re looking for in a position and a company and how you can make your facility compete for this type of talent. 

Here are five ways to attract and retain Millennial nurses:

1. Invest in up-to-date technology and equipment
Millennials have grown up in the digital age and are accustomed to using the latest computers and devices at home and in the workplace. While it’s not necessary to buy iPads for each nurse, you will find that Millennials are more easily frustrated with out-of-date or slow equipment; they will push for streamlined, modern technology to make processes more efficient.

2. Try to create a positive work-life balance
While it can be difficult to do in a busy health care setting, it’s vital to give your Millennial employees a better work-life balance. Younger nurses want more flexibility with their schedules; they look for a flexible workplace that allows them to leave work early to pick up children or attend an important event like a wedding or funeral. They expect to have a generous amount of paid time off and the ability to adjust their hours when necessary. 

3. Provide open communication from executives and leaders
One of the quickest ways to lose employees is to keep them in the dark about important news or make big decisions without any input from them. Millennials are used to having information at their fingertips; they want to know their voice is heard. Learning about important company news at the same time that the general public does will only lower their trust in leadership and make them feel undervalued.

Create a transparent culture at your facility by conducting an anonymous employee survey to find out what your nurses want most in their work -- and then make changes based on their feedback. Don’t worry, you can start small. Even little changes will help build trust among workers.

4. Communicate your purpose and provide ways to give back
A recent Forbes survey found that 64 percent of Millennials want to make the world a better place. These professionals are committed to finding a company that helps them achieve this goal. 

This characteristic aligns with many nurses who chose their profession to make a difference in patients’ lives. They seek to work for an organization that not only provides quality health care but also values employees. They want authentic leadership and established programs that give back to the community.

One easy way to ensure Millennial nurses understand your company’s purpose is to print your core values on the back of all employee badges so they see them each time they clip them on for work. Talk about these values and how they can be further defined. This will help employees feel they play a role in enhancing the company culture and fulfilling their mission to do good in the world. 

5. Spend more time mentoring new employees and focus on development
Millennials are driven by their goals and actions; they want ownership over projects and many aspire to be leaders themselves.

Millennial expert and author Bruce Tulgan recommends mentoring these younger employees, providing them with regular feedback and guidance.

Ask your nurse supervisors to allocate some of their time to coach new nurses and address their concerns and questions.

Provide your Millennial employees with a mentor to help address a gap in soft skills. This could be another nurse or even a physician who can help them achieve their career goals and remain accountable.

While these steps will require a bit of effort, they will ultimately make your entire nursing staff – Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers included -- feel more valued. And that’s a good thing. 

Eric Darienzo is president of RNnetwork, a travel nurse staffing company based in Boca Raton, Fla.