By Scott Yasko, VP of Business Development, Preferred Medical
I started in the workers compensation industry 10 years ago. At the time mine was easily one of the youngest faces you might see walking around an exhibit hall or raising my hand in an education session. A decade later and now in my mid 30’s, nothing has changed. I would consider myself a relative veteran to the industry at this point, yet here I remain amongst the youngest and least represented age groups in our industry. I am a millennial in a marketplace dominated by baby boomers, and we have no clear strategy or plan to alleviate the talent gap that we are facing.
I remember this as a hot topic about 5 years ago, and at that time, you could hear the whispers in the halls of our conferences as well as the echoes from sidebar conversations between some of the brightest minds within the workers compensation industry. Most of the talk, however, came from those that claimed not to understand my generation. So our leaders were pining for fresh blood while at the same time scratching their heads as to how to attract these people into a professional realm that has been unfairly labeled as drab and boring.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, where on October 21, much to my glee and surprise this topic was again brought to the forefront of the market’s consciousness. This time around, however, the problem of our aging workforce was broached in an ingenious way as part of the virtual NWCDC. If you have not seen it yet, I suggest you take the time to watch the recorded discussion because the panelists’ generational differences are what make the content so compelling. My colleague Mark Pew moderated the session, and was joined by Marques Tolbert of Ametros, Claire Muselman of Continental Western Group, Drew Cortese of United Airlines, and Barry Bloom of The BDB Group.
Their session stood out to me for one main reason: Millenials. Tolbert, Muselman, and Cortese are all millennials, and whereas 5 years ago it was baby boomers scratching their heads asking each other how do we fix this, I do not feel like the input of my generation was actually pursued. In order for Millennials and those from Generation Z to understand the legitimately compelling nature of the workers compensation industry they must obtain relatable perspective. So I about fell out of my chair when I saw the cross generational collaboration that went on during this session, and furthermore via the coalition that has stemmed from the project.
I am passionate about this topic because just like the trio of Muselman, Cortese, and Tolbert, I fell into this industry. I did not pursue it and it did not pursue me – it was something that just happened. But what if we were able to flip that dynamic? What if young, talented professionals fresh off college campuses were all pining to get in the door? Seems far-fetched, but talking about this issue we have begun the arduous task of changing our collective behaviors. Each panelist mentioned above wrote corresponding articles on the topic. Tolbert focused on modernizing our corporate cultures, Muselman presented a lot of great research, and Cortese suggested we empower younger generations. I agree with all of them, but I also feel that the three of them were participating in the simplest part of the solution without overtly mentioning it: they were millennials discussing millennials. I mentioned relatable perspective, and I think that is the key to solving our talent crisis. If we want to close the age gap within our industry, then we need to start internally before looking externally, and unfortunately, we are running out of time to do so.
We need more young people speaking at conferences, creating content, blogging, and generally representing themselves in the industry. We need to take over the message of what workers compensation is all about in order to transition it to a new era. To new people. To young talent. Because if we who are currently in the industry do not take control of the message the industry is portraying, how can we ever expect to attract our colleagues outside of it? And so I encourage anyone reading this under the age of 40 to start to get more involved with the goings on of workers compensation. We need to hear the issues that affect our industry from the perspectives of young professionals, and we need to emphasize the accomplishments and career trajectories of our current young professionals in order to have leverage when recruiting new ones into our intimate circle. So now that this topic is again at the forefront of the industry, let us not lose momentum, and let us as millennials take on the responsibility to recruit and retain the talent that we desperately need. Because again, there may be nothing more effective in our efforts than relatable perspective.
About Scott Yasko
Scott E. Yasko is Vice President of Business Development at Preferred Medical. His responsibilities in this role are vast and varying, helping to create the strategic focus of the organization while also working to optimize internal processes. In the marketplace, he represents Preferred Medical as a subject matter expert and trusted adviser. Yasko has been in the workers’ compensation industry for 10 years, and in that time has held roles running the gamut of managed care including experience with pharmaceutical peer reviews, utilization review, IME’s, medicare set-asides, urine drug testing, Pharmacogenetics, and much more. It is this expansive background that he has leveraged to become a modest industry contributor via speaking engagements, publications, and continuing education courses. Scott earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Robert Morris University and his MBA from Georgia Southern University.
About Preferred Medical
Preferred Medical sets the standard in Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) by managing workers’ compensation claim costs and driving better clinical outcomes. Preferred Medical’s service offerings are tailored to individual client needs and focused on communicated objectives. They are a single source solution provider offering PBM, ancillary, and medical cost management solutions, dedicated to providing clients with the best, most responsive customer service in the industry.