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Different generations approach work-life balance with diverse goals
Here are some tips on handling staff
One of the chief findings of the Task Force on Changing Demographics, established by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) was that changes in the demographics of the pharmacy work force could exacerbate a pharmacist shortage nationwide.1
The task force made a number of recommendations to help prevent this from becoming a workforce crisis, including the suggestion that ASHP should develop a strategy to assist practitioners who are pursuing alternative career patterns and that pharmacy managers should examine their staffing practices in light of changing demographics.1
Here are some more tips on how pharmacy managers can better deal with employees who come to the profession with different generational expectations and goals:
1. Learn what the different generations are like. "Do a little reading about the different generations, because if you can learn about the various generations, then that gives you a clue about how to talk with them and listen to them," says Lynnae M. Mahaney, RPh, MBA, FASHP, chief of pharmacy at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, WI. Mahaney is the president-elect of ASHP for 2009-2010.
For example, the generations can be divided into the following:
2. Develop flexible work schedules. "Be open to developing flexible work schedules," Mahaney says. "This is key, and unless you can restructure the work, you'll have staffing problems."
It's important to develop alternative work schedules that will help the Baby Boomer pharmacist handle elder parent care and give the Generation Xer some flexibility in balancing family-work.
Pharmacists listed their work schedule as the most important factor in deciding whether to stay or leave a job within the next year, according to the National Pharmacist Workforce Survey.1
Flexible scheduling gives a hospital pharmacy an advantage when recruiting top candidates, and it encourages staff loyalty and retention.
3. Facilitate pharmacist re-entry. As a pharmacist shortage becomes a nationwide issue, it'll be important to develop programs and procedures for hiring pharmacists who have been out of the workforce for various reasons, including childbirth and retirement, Mahaney says.
"If a trained professional leaves the workforce for some amount of time and wants to come back, we need to have methodologies for managing that re-entry," she says.
"For pharmacists who may have worked in a community and chain setting for a large part of their career and then want to go back into the hospital and health system, then we need to accommodate them and create a training program for them," Mahaney adds. "If you have a good pharmacist, you want to hire and bring them back."
Pharmacy managers should invest in their 50-year-plus workers because they'll need the older pharmacists to stay in the workforce, Mahaney adds.
This group might also include the "silent generation" of older workers who decide that their retirement years should include some part-time work.