By Danielle Lisenbey, President, MedRisk
With Baby Boomers aging out of the industry and Millennials and Gen Zers representing 46 percent of the workforce, it’s time to market the diverse career paths available within workers’ compensation to them and re-engineer our workplaces for them. First, what do they want?
The Carson College of Business at Washington State University surveyed Gen Zers and found:
- 83% want to make a positive impact on the world
- 79% have high ambition and drive
- 75% want a healthy work-life balance
- 70% want to work for a company whose values align with their own
- 63% expect gratification for a job well done
- 63% want to move up the ranks quickly
Other studies point out the need for good pay, as well. Tuition is higher than ever and salary and stability still rank top of mind.
Workers’ comp with its emphasis on patient advocacy can appeal to the Millennial and Gen Z generations’ desire to make a positive impact on the world. What job could be better suited for a purpose-driven person than helping someone through a traumatic event–possibly one of the worst times in their life?
If candidates consider comp at all, they may think of underwriting, risk management and claims. But there’s so much more. Information technology plays an enormous role with automation, artificial intelligence, website and portal development, and the hot specialty of cybersecurity. There are jobs in marketing, event planning, social media, public relations, graphic design, product development and sales. Human resources, training, education, conferences, and medical management open avenues. Data analytics and predictive modeling improve operational efficiencies, quality and the customer experience. Operations and senior management are other ways to go. Some of these careers can begin in a corporate call center. In fact, all of MedRisk’s current directors started with the company in entry-level positions. As an industry, we need to do a better job of packaging the multiple opportunities.
Attracting and retaining the next generation takes a lot more than lip service. This group demands proof and action. Employers need to demonstrate that they care about their employees’ wellbeing–physically and mentally. Teammates need to understand and be reminded of paths for promotion, and they want to be coached, trained, mentored, and recognized for their good work. They need to see that work-life balance in action and how the company’s ethics line up with theirs.
Technology takes high priority. While Millennials are extremely tech-savvy, Gen Zers are digital natives, said to make their debuts on this planet with smart phones in their hands. They never knew a world without the internet and integrated technology into their lives like no generation before them. Younger people expect their employers to use the best technology and optimize it.
While no generation is monolithic, trends point to future generations seeking employers whose values align with their own and those include concerns about the environment, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Gen Z is the most racially diverse generation ever – 48 percent is non-white. Gen Zers and Millennials take more action in social issues than previous generations.
Gen Zers are also considered pragmatic. Nearly one-third of Gen Zers believe they are a hard-working generation, harder working than even the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers, according to the Workforce Institute. However, Gen Zers say this hard-working nature is influenced by work-life balance and claim they will work harder and stay longer at a company with flexible schedules; they want a say over their work schedule.
The pandemic gave employees of all generations time to consider work-life balance and led some to the “great quit,” movement, causing companies to re-think nine to five office schedules and paid time off policies.
People in their 20s tend to be more interested in flex time than 401k contributions. If the work gets done, does it matter? What if they’re a night owl? Positions need to be covered at certain times of day, but can the company fill these with personalities who like working at odd hours if it creates a happier, longer-term workforce?
COVID-19 foisted work-from-home on organizations that previously resisted it. The companies adjusted and some employees loved it, citing money and time savings and reduced stress as benefits. One in three remote workers said they don’t want to work for a company that forces them to work onsite full time in a Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey: Special Report of March 2021.
On the other hand, other respondents to the same survey said in-person interactions helped further their careers and one in four employees found WFH isolation challenging. Managers had trouble maintaining corporate culture and 39 percent said mentoring was harder. Additionally, the Workforce Institute said 44 percent of Gen Zers preferred face-to-face interactions at work and 75 percent would rather receive feedback in person from their manager.
Hybrid options, such as two or three days in the office and the others from home, or a week in and a week out, could bridge these gaps. Decisions may depend on the position, employee preference, or the team structure.
As we bring new people into our organizations, mentoring programs, training and development programs and clearly defined plans for moving up in the company will help cement the 20- and 30-something’s commitment to the industry. Interacting with senior leaders, having opportunities to share ideas, particularly in areas that affect them, will continue their engagement.
Creating a new product or service? Invite younger workers from departments tangibly touching those areas to bring their ideas; you’ll be surprised by their contributions. Their technological skills, ideas and grasp of social issues come from different perspectives, but people basically want the same things.
We all want to be respected and treated well. Everyone wants to know how to move up in an organization. We all appreciate clear and frequent communication and validation. Flexible work hours and access to senior leadership? It seems like all employees appreciate the things the Millennials and Gen Zers do; they’ve just expressed it better. Let’s take this opportunity to build an industry that’s more attractive for everyone.
About Danielle Lisenbey
Danielle Lisenbey oversees MedRisk’s business development, client collaboration, and performance. She drives strategic initiatives for enhanced customer, patient, provider and employee experiences. With over 27 years of experience in workers’ compensation managed care and disability management, she previously served as the Global President of the TPA division of one of the world’s largest, independent claims management companies. Ms. Lisenbey holds a degree in Industrial Engineering and Technology and serves on the executive board of the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation.
Based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, MedRisk is the largest managed care organization dedicated to the physical rehabilitation of injured workers. Its national network of more than 191,000 physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and other specialists deliver in-clinic and on-site therapy along with telerehabilitation and functional capacity examinations. Clinically driven since its inception, the company has an International Scientific Advisory Board that developed and maintains physical medicine-specific, evidence-based guidelines for workers’ compensation. MedRisk, which has successfully completed SSAE 18 SOC Type 1 and 2 examinations, ensures high quality care and outstanding customer service. For more information, visit www.medrisknet.com or call 800-225-9675.
MedRisk is a WorkCompWire ad partner.
This is NOT a paid placement.