How to Motivate the Different Generations of Animal Health and Veterinary Employees

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

Motivation is an important issue for employers, regardless of the state of the employment marketplace. However, it’s even more critical in a candidate-driven job market like the one that we’re currently experiencing.

The reason is simple. In a candidates’ job market, candidates have more options and employment opportunities. Motivating them to first consider your organization’s opportunity and then pursue that opportunity are prerequisites for hiring the candidates you want to hire to fill your open position. And then, once they become employees of your organization, motivating them to reach peak productivity levels is also important.

Obviously, there are members of multiple generations in the workforce. However, there are now more Millennials in the employment marketplace than any other generation, and as you more than likely know, Millennials pose their own unique challenges to employers. That’s not necessarily good nor bad. There are differences between the members of all the generations in the workforce.

Let’s start by identifying and defining the four distinct generations in the marketplace. They are the Baby Boomers, Generation X, the Millennials, and Generation Z. The generation that you’re in is determined by what year you were born.

For example, Baby Boomers are those people born between the years 1946 and 1964. Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980, the Millennials were born between 1980 and 1995, and Generation Z was born after the year 1996. It’s important to note that the Millennials are also called Generation Y. So that explains, at least in part, the name of Generation Z for this latest generation.

The main motivators for each of these generations are different, which makes perfect sense, and that’s why it’s important to be aware of these motivators. If you are a member of management in an Animal Health Company or Veterinary practice and you don’t know what motivates the members of your team, then you have a problem. And there’s a good chance that you have a problem with retention.

So let’s address each of the generations and what motivates them.

Baby Boomer Generation

  • Motivated by stability. That’s what they want in an employer and in their employment.
  • Motivated by a position of authority, which means they want to move up the ranks within an organization. As a result, they’re the generation most likely to stay for a long time with a single organization. That should not come as a surprise to anyone.
  • Place an emphasis on benefits, especially medical benefits.
  • Motivated by recognition. They want to be recognized for their achievements and accomplishments.

Generation X

  • Also motivated by recognition for their achievements and accomplishments.
  • Focus on work-life balance and making sure that their family is taken care of.
  • Motivated by the chance for professional development opportunities.
  • Want to succeed and excel, but they do not want to do it at the expense of their family.

Millennial Generation

  • Crave recognition for their achievements.
  • Also want the chance to take advantage of professional development opportunities.
  • Want a variety of experiences.
  • Enjoy freedom and flexibility. Being able to work remote is one way many of them want to enjoy these things.
  • Company culture is also very important. They want to work in an environment that’s enjoyable and feel as though they’re a respected member of the organization.
  • Want the opportunity to speak up and be heard, including by members of management. They want to be able to express themselves and feel as though their voice counts for something.

Generation Z

  • They also want their voices to be heard.
  • They place a high degree of emphasis on equality and respect, and those are the things they want in a company culture.
  • Want to be taken seriously, especially by older members of the workforce.

Generation Z has not been part of the workforce for very long, so we’ll learn more about the members of this generation during the course of the next decade or so.

An employer should seek to address as many of the overlapping motivators listed above as possible. For example, an Animal Health Company or Veterinary practice needs to make sure that it recognizes the achievements of its employees and provides opportunities for professional development. That’s the very least it should do. That way, it’s addressing the core motivators of just about every generation.

What an employer needs to really do, though, is strive to address ALL of the motivators of every generation. You can even do it on a person-by-person basis. Identify which generation they’re a member of and then tailor their motivators based on that generation. Keep in mind, though, that everyone is different, so taking into account the employee’s personality and their preferences is also a good idea.

A boilerplate approach is better than no approach at all, and a customized approach is better than a boilerplate one. Ideally, you want to hire employees who motivate themselves and then complement that intrinsic motivation by addressing any external motivators that apply.

By partnering with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter, you can more successfully navigate the differences associated with candidates of every generation. A recruiter has experience working with and interacting with candidates from all the different generations. They know what motivates them the most, including what would motivate them to choose your organization’s employment opportunity instead of your competitor’s.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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