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Clinical Solutions Blog

How to Manage Millennials at Your Clinic

Posted by Rick Lau on Jul 18, 2017 10:00:00 AM

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I recently came back from the ACCELERATE Clinic Owner Business Summit. It was an event I produced, the first event of it’s kind in Canada. And it was a GREAT success!

The event was sold out with the 1st month and we have a triple digit waiting list. There were over 13 awesome speakers with MBA style case study workshops - and overall the event was incredible.  We even had a Net Promoter Score of 93% for the event. We'll definitely be hosting a 2018 event, so stay tuned for updates on early bird registrations.

At the start of ACCELERATE we ran a live phone poll about the biggest struggles clinic owners faced. As it turns out, one of the biggest challenges (by far) was managing and recruiting clinicians.

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Being that millennials make up a large proportion of those people you’ll hire, that seems to present an even greater challenge to most clinic owners.

So let’s talk about that…

We’ll cover:

  • What millennials expect they will do in the next few years
  • Some amazing facts and stats from Deloitte's Millennial Survey
  • What millennials most want out of employers
  • 10 effective strategies to gain and retain millennials at your clinic

Let’s deep dive into millennial and how to lead them...

Most Millennials Already Have One Foot Out The Door (YOU Need To Change That)

Millennials are generally defined as those born after 1980 and before 2000, or more broadly, the 18 to 34 year old age group.

According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 1 in 4 millennials would quit their job for a better or different offer. That means if given the choice, they are going to leave your clinic.

Of course, we’re going to rectify that, but these stats are quite astounding because before moving forward, you need to understand the mindset of these young people.

When you expand this timeframe to an even greater length, 2 in 3 millennials expect to leave their jobs by 2020 - that’s 66% of them!

Many Millennials have one foot out the door!


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I probably don’t have to point out that this is a big, BIG issue.

Given all the effort that goes into recruiting and training millennials, this thought is incredibly frustrating for everyone - your front desk staff, your clinicians and YOU.  

I understand, really, I do.

While running over 100+ clinics across Canada, millennials made up the majority of my front desk and clinician staff. But thankfully, I found a way to overcome the dreaded burn and churn of staff members.

In fact, now I employ millennials and run two thriving companies remotely.

Clinic Supplies Canada (CSC) is one of the fastest growing healthcare supply companies in Canada and the entire company is made up of millennials. And you may be surprised to learn I only visit my team once every 3 months.

My team at CSC (located in Vancouver) can pretty much get a higher paying job elsewhere but they choose to stay with me. Since I live in Victoria, I don’t see them every day but just drop in on them from time to time, which means my millennial staff have a lot of power and purpose in my company.

I also own a call tracking software business called CallHero and most of our team is made up of millennials, especially the developers. This industry is very much like the industry of clinicians, there is a shortage of people and they have a great deal of choice because they can work anywhere.

So I allow my employees to work from anywhere - they are located both nationally and internationally.

While you can’t exactly have a remote team as a clinic business, you can have the exact same mindset.

The solution itself is pretty simple: MILLENNIALS WANT PURPOSE!

They don’t care too much for the corporate grind, the promise of work/life balance, and they don’t care too much about money - though of course, earning a little more money is always a great incentive.

But putting money aside, their main motivation is PURPOSE and MEANING.

Once you can give them that, you can keep them for life - and let them do great things for your business!

So HOW exactly do you create this sense of meaning and purpose in your company or clinic?

Here’s 10 strategies to help…

10 Strategies to Gain and Retain Millennials at Your Clinic

1) Start with values, vision and mission

As Tony Hsieh, CEO of highly successful company Zappos says: “Our core values guide us in everything we do today.”

Higher purpose starts with creating committable core values. That’s how Tony Hsieh created such a connected, productive team that helped build his company to success.

But core values are not empty promises or words. As Tony Hsieh says, “We developed a list of committable core values…not just values that end up being part of a meaningless plaque on the wall.”

So the question is: What is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)?

Is it to heal the world? Heal your community? Support a local charity? Do whatever you can to prevent injuries in the elderly?

Dig deep to discover your purpose and meaning.

One key way to do this is to think about WHY you first became a physiotherapist or opened your clinic. Sure, one aspect of it might have been money. But I bet your real purpose was you really wanted to help people in some way.

Dig into that and share those values because that’s what will resonate with millennials.

In fact, according to the Deloitte survey, millennials prioritize the sense of purpose around people over growth or profit maximization.

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Once you establish your core values and vision, your task is to find people who believe in your core values and your goals. They key is to build a tribe that wants to follow you.

Your task is to communicate the values, vision and mission at every level. Does EVERY single person on your team know where you’re heading and how important they are to the overall whole?

One book I’d highly recommend is Seth Godin’s book Tribes.

2) Create a friendship work culture

Millennials appreciate having friendships at work so it’s important you create a culture that does that. Because according to research, there is a bit of a gap, only about 57% of workplaces make millennials feel happy.

Let’s face it, much of our life is spent at work so we all want it to be a happy place. And especially with millennials, there is less distinction between friends at work and outside of work.

Quite simply, millennials are more likely to talk about personal issues with colleagues, socialize with colleagues, and form long term friendships with other people in your workplace, including you.

It’s up to you to put a heavy emphasis on fostering workplace friendships. You can do so through shared goals, staff lunches, sharing wins in a group email, and a genuine caring within the workplace.


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3) Stop managing, start leading

Growth does not occur from clinic owners (or managers) who push their people to do more for less.

Growth comes from leaders who help their people be great and achieve a sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT and PURPOSE.

Run your business more efficiently by systemizing things. Teach your staff those systems. Help make things easier for them to be masters at their job. Be a leader they want to follow because without followers, there is no leadership.

The reality is you are building a tribe of people who want you to lead them. And the people who follow you do so because they want to.

All you have to do is step up and lead.

Another great book I’d recommend here is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. It will help you understand the roles of the Technician, the Manager, and the Leader/Entrepreneur - and how to transfer yourself from one role to the other.

4) Listen to your people

People want a leader who listens. And despite what you may think, people are not stupid so it’s important to create a culture of transparency.

Peter Diamandis suggests there are 3 top things that millennials may request:

  1. Training and Development – they want to learn
  2. Flexible Hours – they want to be spontaneous, they want to feel “free”
  3. Cash Bonuses – they want to have “upside” in the value they are creating

If your staff are requesting things, listen and oblige. Value what you hear.

As the clinic owner or management, you want your people’s input so you can make your business a better place for everyone. And you want to be proud of what your staff do.

Give everyone a voice.

The worst thing you can do as a manager or owner is to not let every single person on your team express their opinion openly. The second worst thing you can do is to not hear them, and never report anything back on their progress or what you plan to do with the information (whether you do anything with it or not.)

By giving everyone a voice, listening and acting on your people’s input, you build huge amounts of value into your business.

5) Make the workplace fun

No one wants a dreary, dreadful or stressful place to spend their days, so make the workplace a happy, fun place to be!

There are any number of ways you can do this but a couple of things we do are Daily Huddles, High Five Fridays and Welcome Party’s.

At CSC, we have daily huddles where the team reviews ‘wins’ and ‘stucks,’ to enable fluid communication and communally deal with problems as they arise.

I send out a ‘High Five Friday’ email, which is a very simple task.

Each Friday I take the time to sit down and write an email that reflects on the week. The email takes me about 10 minutes to write, and look for a cool photo to include, and it shares the small wins and gives the team a big high five for an amazing week!

Here’s an example:


And instead of having a farewell party if a staff member leaves, we scrapped that and have huge welcome parties when new members join our team.

We also make time for chocolate and ice cream at work, and go on fun team outings from time to time. 

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7) Challenge your team

Millennials love a good challenge!

You saw in the results above that they are more narcissistic and perhaps egotistical than previous generations. So use this in your favor.

Even go so far as to give them the authority and autonomy to challenge you.

Let them prove why their particular solution is better than yours. The results of doing so will surprise you because millennials are more creative and entrepreneurial than past generations.

A good example is that like many clinic owners, you probably know you need to be using social media in your clinic, but you’re probably not very good at it - or can’t keep up with it.  

So, why not challenge millennials at your clinic and get them to be the expert of this initiative. Let them become the social media manager or digital marketing manager.

I mean, why hire an outside expert when you have a bunch of experts at your clinic already?!

Put the task and responsibility in their hands because the challenge will help deepen their sense of PURPOSE and MEANING. And don't take forever to take action!

Momentum, speed, and excitement are the engagement multipliers. Nobody in the millennial demographic wants to work for a stagnant company where their only reason to come to work is the paycheque. Make decisions, get your team involved and move fast, continuously!

8) Make it about employees first

The 3 values that support a successful business are:

  1. Treatment of people
  2. Ethics
  3. Customer focus

And millennials especially value fair treatment from their employers. They want employees to put their interests first, above money. And they also want an environment that fosters trust and integrity.

Trust your people to make decisions. You cannot micromanage as your company grows, you need to ensure your team understands what’s important to the overall mission and can make major business decisions without consulting you. And they need to feel assured they can do so in that environment of trust and encouragement.

On top of them being looked after, they value a high quality service or product that puts customer care as a focus.

Does this give you an idea of what they look for in a company or clinic they work for - it’s all about that PURPOSE and MEANING. And this is created through a genuine caring about people.

9) Mentor your millennials

In order to foster long term partnerships with millennials, you need to invest in them, believe in them, and support them to achieve their ambitions. Essentially what this means is helping them grow in their profession.

And the perfect way to do this is with mentorship.

Millennials want (and need) someone they can turn to for advice, someone who helps them develop their professional skills and their leadership skills, someone who encourages and builds their confidence and helps them become a better person overall.

Aside from achieving your mission (and making money), your business should become a personal development organization. How are you helping your team develop into the best version of themselves both personally and professionally? 

Watch this video from Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace

10) Believe in and back your millennials

Many people assume that millennials are self-entitled or self-obsessed. But according to Google this assumption is incorrect, at least in terms of content.
For instance, if millenials were self-entitled and self-obsessed they'd respond to content that indulges this. But that's not the case. They are actually looking to learn. And they are looking for leaders and mentors to guide their perspectives and decisions.
YouTube stats show that 70% of millennial users watched YouTube to learn how to do something new last year. Meanwhile, 39% of millennials say an online video has helped change their perspective, and 45% of users agree that a YouTuber has inspired them to make a personal change in their life.
While millenials may not have the maturity and experience of others, they still have the same core values and motivations to many others. They also offer enthusiasm and innovative thinking. But they need someone to believe in them and more than that, back them.
Millennials are a generation that have been encouraged to pursue their passions and develop their talents. And as a leader and mentor you have the ability to harness that.
Connect them to your big vision and mission, offer them a clear path to advancement and turn them into a raving fan. They can be your brand advocate, they'll help promote your company, they'll be tremendous with customers, and you'll have an employee you'll keep for life!
Stimulate intrinsic motivation and a love for the journey. Focus on creating autonomy, purpose, and mastery at every level of your team!
It's about you being adapatable enough to believe in and back your millennials, and it's not that difficult to do if you follow the principles laid out above.

Don't look at hiring or maintaining millennials as a negative because it's not. You just have to reset your mindset and become the leader they want to follow. Once you do, you'll have a loyal tribe of staff forevermore!


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