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10 tips to better manage millennials


By 2020, millennials will make up 50 percent of optometrists’ patient bases, and they’ll have up to $1.4T in spending power, says Thuy-Lan Nguyen. She spoke about managing millennial patients and staff at SECO 2017.

Atlanta-By 2020, millennials will make up 50 percent of optometrists’ patient bases, and they’ll have up to $1.4T in spending power, says Thuy-Lan Nguyen. She spoke about managing millennial patients and staff at SECO 2017.

Millennials don’t know a world without constant information and communication because they are the first generation to have Internet access during their formative years.

Related: Managing your employees’ social media use

This generation: 

• Dislikes being labeled

• Is environmentally and socially conscious

• Social media and tech savvy

• Is the most educated generation in the workforce

• Is optimistic

Their cell phones are their alarm clocks, camera, calendar, and Rolodex, says Dr. Nguyen. In fact, 83 percent of millennials say they sleep with their cell phones next to their beds; only 68 percent of Gen Xers and 35 percent of baby boomers do so.

Up to a one third of millennials are underemployed or unemployed, but this will change as more boomers begin to retire.

With more millennials as patients and staff, understanding how to manage and communicate with them effectively will likely improve your practice’s culture and possibly your bottom line.

Dr. Nguyen breaks down her 10 tips for millennials into patient and staff categories.

Related: Handling patients who want you to adjust glasses purchased online


Tips for managing millennial patients

1.Make everything mobile friendly

Dr. Nguyen says it’s beneficial to:

• Optimize your website for mobile viewing

• Consider online scheduling for appointments

• Collect cell numbers first, followed by email address second

“Millennials do everything online: appointments, reservations, and purchases,” says Dr. Nguyen. “They don’t know how to talk on the phone, so it’s best to adapt things to be mobile friendly.”

This generation claims that technology makes their lives easier and brings friends and family together. Adapting your practice to be more mobile friendly may be the first step to attract millennial patients.

2. Keep marketing timely

In an age where instant gratification is expected, it is important to market new products and technology in a timely manner.

Post updates of new products and services while they are still fresh-it’s the key to capturing this generation’s attention.

“Millennials love birthdays or a special occasion to celebrate,” says Dr. Nguyen. “They want to feel like they are a part of your office community.”

If you make them feel valued, millennials will go out of their way to review and post on social media their experiences while in your care.

“If a millennial comes into your practice and has a wow experience, ask her to post a review online for you,” says Dr. Nguyen. “Even jump in the picture with her and ask her to tag you in it.”

Related: 3 steps to staff empowerment

3. Make your brand and the brands you use known

“Millennials are very brand conscious,” says Dr. Nguyen. “They are more likely to spend their money on products and with companies they feel good about.”

If a product or company don’t appeal to their values, they are more likely to spend elsewhere.

4. Shine a light on your charitable deeds known

Millennials are big fans of charity and charitable donation, says Dr. Nguyen. If your staff participates in charity events, volunteers in the community, or makes charitable donations, post about them online.

This even goes for the brands you use in your practice.

“If a brand you use also gives back, the brand becomes an extension of your office,” says Dr. Nguyen.

Remember, millennials are very socially conscious.

Related: Getting your staff off to a great start

5. Learn to communicate “socially”

“You must learn to like, tweet, snap, share, hashtag, meme, emoji, and selfie to communicate effectively with millennials,” says Dr. Nguyen.

Millennials are using social media to communicate and stay in touch more than any other generation in the past. According to a 2010 Pew study, 75 percent of millennials have profiles on multiple social media platforms.

In fact, more millennials watched the presidential debates on Snapchat than on TV, according to Dr. Nguyen.


Tips for managing millennial staff

1. Provide immediate feedback: positive or negative

Millennials don’t like to wait around to see how they are performing.

“If it is six to seven months before you provide feedback to a millennial employee, you already lost him and he is already looking for a new job,” says Dr. Nguyen.

Be honest and upfront when providing constructive criticism. Millennials thrive when they are given specific goals and deadlines. They need to know where they stand continuously and don’t want to wait for an annual review to gauge how they are doing, says Dr. Nguyen.

2. Allow them to work in groups

Millennials have grown up in an environment that encourages group work.

“Working in groups encourages brainstorming and collaboration,” says Dr. Nguyen. “They want to interact with one another to toss ideas back and forth.”

Dr. Nguyen says to allow millennial employees to help plan special events, such as trunk shows, where they plan the theme, choose the vendors, and decide how to market the event.

“If the plan they put together is a success, reward the entire group for their efforts,” says Dr. Nguyen.

Related: Help! My team is falling apart

3. Encourage giving back

Allow your staff to get involved in the community. Consider allowing volunteer days on company time outside of the office and support their desired charitable efforts.

“Giving back generates excitement,” says Dr. Nguyen. “They end up feeling good about themselves and their employer who gave them the opportunity to make the world a better place.”

4. Text first, email second

There is new etiquette around contacting millennial employees outside of work hours.

“Don’t call. Don’t leave a voicemail unless your name is Mom or Grandma,” says Dr. Nguyen. “Telephone calls are increasingly being seen as an invasion of personal time.”

If you need to get a hold of staff immediately, send a text saying, “Call me ASAP”.

If that doesn’t work, then email is the next best thing. Keep it brief, as the subject line may be the only piece of information they read.

5. Think outside of the box

Millennials love things that break from the norm. Rewarding your staff with non-traditional gifts when they excel is a good way to differentiate yourself.

“Consider non-traditional bonuses and benefits,” says Dr. Nguyen. “This generation loves receiving gift cards, movie tickets, or a book about a topic they enjoy.”

When recruiting for an open position, utilize social media to promote your company and its culture.

“It is important to remember when recruiting millennials that they are more likely to take a lower paying job if they love what they do,” says Dr. Nguyen. “Though a job may be higher paying, they will turn it down if they find it to be boring.”

Millennials are known as job hoppers: 61 percent view their current job as a stepping stone to something else.

Keep your millennial patients and employees engaged with your practice by understanding how they communicate.

Read more from SECO 2017 in Atlanta, GA here

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