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they tend to focus on relationships, re- sults and the rights and the skills they have to offer. They tend to change em- ployment, even career fields, frequent- ly. If they’re unhappy, they’ll leave. They tend to have a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude.” Generation Ys: “They’re also known as ‘Millennials’ or the ‘Net Genera- tion.’ They’re very technology-wise, and they’re much more comfortable with ethnically diverse groups. They, too, are optimistic, confident and very social and have a sense of civic duty. They have developed work traits and tendencies from highly involved parents. They live very structured lives. Millenials are ac- customed to working in teams, and they find their social life from the people at work. They’re very adaptive to change and part of that is based on their repu- tation as the ‘Net Generation,’ the speed of the Internet, and the speed at which things change in the world. They expect, even demand, workplace flexibility, and they’ll change employers even more fre- quently than Gen Xers.”

Potential for Conflicts

Communication, itself, is a big chal- lenge, says Perry Stahlman, senior vice president of human resources and administration for Meridian Surgical Partners. “It’s a challenge in the best of situations, even if you had everybody in the same [generational] group. But when you cross generations, the possi- bility for miscommunication becomes even greater.” For example, “The younger em-

ployees really do want more access to leadership, more access to information, and they want it now, they want it real- time,” Stahlman says. “That, to me, is a big challenge. I sense reluctance to this by the Baby Boomer-types. They tend to treat information as a commodity to be hoarded and guarded carefully. The reality is if you’re working with a Millennial, that’s taken as a lack of respect to them.”

They’re also going to demand the latest and best in technology, Stahl- man adds. “In the ASC world, we’re seeing that happen with spine, for ex- ample. They’re going to be very im- patient about demanding the latest of what’s offered.” “The Gen Ys tend to be very col-

laborative in their approach to solving challenges,” Zoch says. “If their ap- proach is to interact with their clini- cal director or administrator in a col- laborative way, and even to challenge how things are done, because that’s the collaborative way, they might be per- ceived as rebelling against authority, whereas they may actually just be try- ing to make things better.”

they should be running the show the first year. They can’t see why at 22 or 23 they shouldn’t be running the show. They look at Mark Zuckerberg [of Facebook] and figure he’s a CEO, he’s a billionaire, I can do that.” The perspective on offering and re-

ceiving feedback also differs strongly between the generations, says Jacobs. “Baby Boomers—they don’t want continuous feedback. They want to do their job and take pride in it. Gen X and Y want continuous feedback. Baby Boomers tend to be more hands off.” It is worth recognizing that the po- tential for generational conflict in an ASC extends beyond staff members. “Where I think this is also very impor-

A Gen Y person may behave in such a way that supports a value, whereas a Baby Boomer may behave in a different way but also be supportive of that value. What they’re doing is they’re both supporting a common value but with different approaches.”

—Tom Jacobs, MedHQ

Another challenge that may arise relates to this attitude toward supervi- sion and authority. “Baby boomers tend to be a little more skeptical of author- ity, whereas Gen Xers and Gen Ys are comfortable with authority and may not be intimidated by it,” says Tom Jacobs, chief executive officer and cofounder of MedHQ, a Westchester, Illinois, busi- ness office solutions provider. Further complicating matters are

the different generational views on workplace hierarchy. “Baby Boomers tend to view the workplace in a very hierarchical way,” Zoch says. “There’s an organizational chart and here’s where you fit in and you have to work your way up. A Gen Xer feels that pro- motions should be based on merit be- cause they are performance-oriented. It’s not how long you’ve been there but the results of what you’ve brought to the business. And Gen Ys may think

tant is when the providers in the ASC are dealing with patients who are of dif- ferent generations as well,” Zoch says. “Instead of calling 62-year-old Mary Smith ‘Mrs. Smith,’ [a younger genera- tion] might call her Mary. That famil- iarity might be perceived as a little for- ward, a little presumptuous by that Baby Boomer who thinks that she should be addressed with more respect.”

Air Out Differences

These generational tendencies may lead to, or at least contribute to, con- flict between staff members and pos- sibly patients, says Williamson. “Gen- erationally speaking, challenges that present in a busy, hectic workplace are typically dealt with emotionally first before they are dealt with practically. Due to the level of emotion that takes over individuals working at a frantic pace, their backgrounds, age, even


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