Future Proof Your Practice: Recruiting Millennial ODs
By Melody Huang, OD August 24, 2020
Millennials are defined as anyone born between the years 1981 to 1996. There are a lot of misconceptions about millennials, but one thing is clear—millennials make up about 50% of your patient base. Having a young OD in your practice can be a huge asset and helps you attract more patients.
Some people think of millennials as entitled, lazy, impatient, and too dependent on technology. In reality, many of us are willing to work hard for something we love and are passionate about. As a millennial OD myself, I know my peers have a lot to offer, so don’t write us off!
These are some benefits to hiring a young OD:
Our optometric education emphasizes ocular disease. If you want someone to grow the medical side of your practice while you focus on optical, millennials are well suited. Additionally, millennial ODs are glaucoma certified and can help you develop a glaucoma practice. This might be appealing to ODs who don’t have the time to complete the glaucoma certification coursework but still want to incorporate medical optometry.
Experience and education
Millennial ODs are a good balance of experience and education. We’ve graduated recently enough to be well-versed in the latest advancements in our field. Most of us have also been practicing for at least a few years and have had ample time to hone our skills.
We love finding new and more efficient ways of doing things, especially when it comes to technology. Some ODs are hesitant about electronic medical records or online appointment schedulers, but a young OD who is used to these tools can help you get better systems set up. We grew up in a fast-paced world, which has forced us to find ways to work smarter (not just harder).
Social media savvy
We are notorious for being addicted to social media. But social media isn’t all bad. It’s one of the best ways to promote your practice, and if you want to attract younger patients, having social media accounts is the way to go. If the thought of coming up with ideas to post on social media sounds like a huge chore, a millennial OD can provide great insight.
Promoters of trends and aesthetics
Millennials tend to be fans of things like socially-conscious companies, clean designs, independent eyewear brands, and brands that focus on lifestyle and telling a story. Having a millennial OD get your patients excited about new frame lines, contact lenses, or lens technologies can boost optical sales!
How to attract millennial ODs
If you’re thinking about hiring a younger OD, here are some tips on making your practice more attractive:
Have a strong online presence
Not only does having an updated website and online reviews (Google, Yelp) appeal to your patients, but young ODs will check these areas before deciding if they are interested in your practice. Knowing that your patients are happy with the services and that your staff is friendly goes a long way.
Offer bonuses and other perks
Millennials aren’t afraid to leave a position if they feel unmotivated, stifled, or not valued. Offering bonuses based on production keeps your doctors happy and motivated. Also, millennials enjoy personal tokens of appreciation. For example, if you’ve had a busy month and know your associate ODs have been working their tail off, you can send them a gift certificate for a spa day to relax.
Young ODs crave flexibility and work-life balance. As life moves faster, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with so many activities that a rigid schedule just doesn’t work well. Our generation has been moving away from a traditional, full-time work schedule, which typically includes weekends. Millennials also look for generous paid-time off benefits. If you can be flexible on these items, you’ll be sure to attract more ODs.
Make your office staff-friendly
Surveys from CovalentCareers find that millennial ODs want opportunities to socialize with coworkers. Building a sense of community among your staff boosts morale and performance. Having a comfortable breakroom (a nice coffee machine is always appreciated!) and hiring friendly associates makes the workday that much better. Consider reserving a day every month for team meetings to discuss important issues, receive suggestions, and to provide support for your associates.