With multiple generations in the nursing workforce, one might wonder how to effectively target certain populations of nurses.
If learning how to recruit millennials is a top priority, you can make life a little easier with the right marketing tools, such as our education engagement opportunities.
These opportunities provide nurses across the U.S. with information they can use in their bedside practice and apply toward their RN licensure renewal in their respective states. With more than 600 courses from which to pick, our extensive library of continuing education articles and webinars keeps nurses in the know.
Clients like our education engagement opportunities because it introduces our nurse audience to the organizations that support the content, their brand and their products. That translates into high visibility for the supporting organization, which is key.
Stephanie Pruitt, key account manager with Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning, said organizations like the versatility of the education engagement opportunity packages we offer.
“One package gives the client one continuing education activity for 60 days that is free to nurses,” Pruitt said. “Plus, customers get a certain amount of email and social media promotion with the education engagement opportunity package.”
If a client wants an education engagement opportunity with more content available online for a longer duration, Pruitt said there are multiple educational packages available to fit their desired time frames. All packages are customizable to each client’s specific preferences.
Besides significant branding exposure, Pruitt said customers continually express positive feedback with education engagement opportunity packages because it keeps their brand top of mind with nurses and the survey questions nurses answer to take the course provide them with hot new leads.
Education engagement opportunity topics can range from safety training across generations to breast cancer awareness, said Maria Morales, MSN, RN, CPAN, executive director of healthcare programs at Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning.
“We have a clinical content development team that is able to create content in-house and customize it for organizations who want to support educational opportunities for their employees,” she said.
By including the right mix of continuing education in an education engagement opportunity package, Morales said the content can serve multiple purposes. One example is the courses provide free professional development for nurses while offering a recruitment tool HR teams can use to reach a target audience, such as millennials.
More universities and healthcare facilities also are turning to Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning when they need custom training materials, Morales said.
“A customized educational engagement opportunity provides a way for employers to provide customized career growth and professional development opportunities,” Morales said.
Getting down to the core
The multi-generational nursing workforce impacts hospitals and other healthcare organizations because each generation brings its own set of challenges, experiences and world views to work each day, according to Pew Research.
Sometimes different generations have difficulty relating to one another as colleagues. A 2016 Online Journal of Issues in Nursing study stressed a critical need for teamwork among generations, particularly in an era of complex healthcare. The study highlights ways staff of all ages can positively impact patient care through a willingness to learn from one another and work together.
“Rather than favoring one generation over another, institutions can benefit from celebrating differences and promoting strengths of the various generational cultures that currently comprise their workforce,” the study’s authors wrote.
The takeaway message with recruiting millennials versus other generations is that the recruitment messaging needs to address their core values — things like work-life balance and meaningful work. Knowing what millennials value will help you craft messaging that attracts them. The recruiting message should be tailored differently for each generation you’re looking to target.
Smart recruiters know their audience
If hospitals want to adopt more effective recruiting strategies to reach millennials, for example, it will take a bit of homework to learn the inner workings of millennial nurses’ minds.
“We need to get better understanding about how [millennials] think, and what’s important to them,” said Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN, a researcher at Montana State University. “There is a communications piece that has to happen with the recruiting staff so they correctly market the hospital in a way that conveys that the hospital staff understands what millennials value.”
Learning what millennials value most and incorporating it into the recruiting material can send a strong message that millennials are likely to fit into that hospital’s culture, continued Buerhaus, who said millennial nurses tell him they want jobs that make a difference and they want to help improve their patients’ lives.
The HR team will fare better with the right tools and approach when recruiting millennial nurses, Morales said. And if an education engagement opportunity is mobile-friendly, it can be even more appealing to this generation.
“Millennials are usually technologically savvy,” she said. “An educational engagement provides a technology-based learning opportunity that a nurse can complete on his or her own time for no expense to the learner.”
The added benefit with mobile-friendly training tools is the technology allows nurses to complete their training on their own schedule on their cell phones and tablets, Morales added.
Facilities interested in showing job applicants they support continuing education, professional development and work-life balance will be doing all three by offering education engagement opportunities to their employees, Morales said.
Make millennials job offers that resonate
Want to appeal to millennial nurses? Consider offering opportunities that fulfill their core values of work-life balance and provide purpose-driven projects, such as volunteerism, community service and educational opportunities.
When healthcare facilities offer volunteer benefits to staff it can have a positive effect on recruiting, said Tom Ricketts, professor of health policy and management at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Ricketts uses the Malawi Surgical Initiative, a volunteer program established at University of North Carolina, that places American surgical volunteers in Malawi to train surgery residents in their native country as a great example of a meaningful volunteer opportunity.
In addition to surgeons, the program sends operating room nurse volunteers to Malawi for a week to a month at a time to assist them with training Malawi surgeons, Ricketts said.
Knowing that millennials expect employers to offer volunteer benefits that allow them to take advantage of these types of opportunities can help healthcare facilities gain a competitive advantage in their recruiting.
That said, it still can be a tough sell when hospitals need people to relocate to rural locations — unless recruiters dangle the right carrot under their nose.
Ricketts shared a story about a healthcare facility in rural Nebraska that discovered if they offered new hires a chance to work in Africa for a month once per year as a volunteer benefit, it helped them attract more staff to their out-of-the-way facility.
The concept of offering volunteer opportunities as part of a recruiting strategy took shape at top companies such as Apple and Google, he said. “It leaked into the health professions,” Ricketts said. “Now the expectation is we can also do this.”
Experts like Buerhaus suggest the healthcare industry borrow more millennial recruiting strategies from the corporate sector to help improve nursing recruitment and retention among millennial nurses.
Pulling out all the stops on generation-based recruitment strategies can save loads of time and money in the long run for healthcare recruiters and their employers — and it can help build solid RN teams that share the same ageless goals.