It’s summer, which can only mean one thing: the Class of 2023 is officially part of the full-time workforce. Each year, when a new group of young graduates enter the workforce, it’s a good time to examine what these professionals are looking for in their post-college careers. How can your team make the best use of the newest group of graduates looking for careers in senior care and assisted living?
Boundaries, Responsibility, and a Search for Purpose
Over the past couple of years, clients and commentators alike are frequently talking about one topic in particular: “quiet quitting.” Driven largely (though not exclusively, to be sure) by younger professionals, the phenomenon describes an approach to work that essentially adheres to the “letter of the law” by doing exactly what one was hired to do, no less but also no more. This approach to working life grew out of the pandemic-era reshuffling of priorities, as more people looked to draw firm work-life boundaries and avoid burnout, particularly in high-stress (and sometimes low-appreciation) fields like healthcare.
Organizations looking to hire from the class of 2023 will be well-served by emphasizing their companies’ commitment to work-life balance and a sense of purpose. Senior care and assisted living, like other healthcare fields, often require more in-person work and may not have the increasingly-popular hybrid options that many young employees might prefer. With that being said, however, this also tends to be a field that people pursue out of a real sense of passion, purpose, and drive to make a difference. It’s essential to have a workplace culture that allows everyone, at every level, to feel that sense of meaning in their work. At the same time, organizational culture should be built with the understanding of the toll this kind of emotionally-resonant work can take, and build in provisions to avoid burnout. With those in place, you’re more likely to build a dedicated and loyal workforce ready to serve clients and grow their careers for years to come.
Keeping One Eye on the Future
A LinkedIn study in 2021 found that job transitions among Gen Z were up an enormous 80% year-over-year. This younger generation of workers is more willing than their older peers to be clear about their job expectations, and, more significantly, they’re more willing to look for a new job if their current role or company isn’t meeting expectations or in line with their core values. Don’t mistake this for flightiness, though: they’re looking for stability, too. The Wall Street Journal cites a recent survey where 84% of graduating seniors said job stability would make them more likely to apply for a job, increasing from 73% the previous year.
With this interest in stability, leveraging the talents of the Class of 2023 should be about rentention as much as the initial recruiting. Your company should have clear and appealing answers for common concerns, such as:
- What career paths options are there at this organization?
- What are the opportunities for career development or mentorship?
- Is there support for ongoing education and upskilling?
- How do you handle employee appreciation and recognition?
These retention strategies aren’t just for new grads, either – they can significantly boost your team efforts across the board.
Managing Uncertainty in the Workplace
Many of today’s recent grads are facing a level of uncertainty, as some sectors continue to grow while others are suddenly cooling after rapid growth. The senior care field, like many others that are more service-oriented, still has more job openings than other “knowledge worker” fields (think software and financial services), but every region, niche, and individual company can be a little bit different. Predictability is hard to find in today’s workplace, and in the world in general.
Because of this, a large share of new graduates are targeting jobs that they believe can help them withstand the ups and downs of the current economic situations. The Wall Street Journal reported a few key opinions held by the Class of 2023:
- 84% say that “stability” is a factor that will make them more likely to accept a job, followed by salary (82%) and benefits (81%).
- 76% believe they can find a well-paying job.
- 40% are open to industries or roles they had not previously considered.
Companies looking to the Class of 2023 to fill key roles should understand that these graduates are seeking a sense of balance: purposeful, passionate work where they can also find stability and work-life balance. They’re looking for jobs that allow them to make a difference and live their values, but they’re also aware of the need for a little certainty in an uncertain world. Their drive and dedication can make them valuable assets to your organization and your clients, and their potential – especially when supported by excellent development – can have a lasting positive impact far into the future.
By Tom Zeleny, NHA