Kathy Espinoza, assistant vice president of ergonomics and safety for the insurance brokerage and consulting firm of Keenan & Associates in Torrance, CA, suggests employee health professionals consider the following strategies with healthcare workers from the millennial generation in these direct quotes below.

Onboarding: “Include ergonomics, safety, and wellness in the new hire onboarding process. The longer you take to work with them on setting up their workstation, the longer their bad ‘habits’ solidify into your healthcare organization.”

Involve IT: “Set their workstations up properly from day one. This means training your IT team on proper workstation setup when delivering their computer, mouse, keyboard, etc. Don’t wait until the millennial worker complains of pain to address proper ergonomics.”

Purchasing: “Get your purchasing department on board with well-proven ergonomic solutions. Don’t allow the employee to purchase what they think they need. Not everything that has an ‘ergo’ label is a valid product, so educate the purchasing department.”

Wellness: “Ergonomics should be a solid part of your wellness program, and vice-versa. A healthy, well employee can still get injured, but their recovery time is quicker.”

Embrace online training: “Online training is the preferred method of learning for millennials. Boring, classroom-style training is frustrating to them and they are easily turned off. Recognize their brains are moving faster than other generations of workers. Look at TV commercials now days — they move from screen to screen at a fast pace, with loud music and many moving parts. Movie credits back in the 1940s were held on the screen for 10 seconds, whereas today, they are on for four seconds.

As healthcare trainers on ergonomics, safety, and wellness, it’s important to jazz up our trainings so they are appealing to this faster-paced generation.”

Feedback: “More than any other generation, millennials need constant feedback. Boomers expect feedback once a year at their annual performance evaluation, but millennials need it much more often. Schedule a follow-up visit with the new hire every month for the first few months to connect with them and see how they are doing. They were raised with parents who were very attentive to their ‘specialness’ and they expect the same from their boss. Take the time to listen to them — after all, their parents did.”

Immediate Satisfaction: “Having technology and answers in the palm of your hand allows you immediate answers to life’s questions.In discussing ergonomics, have a ready supply of devices, keyboard, mice, monitor stands that they can touch and try out. Most ergonomic equipment vendors will allow you a free trial period. Be sure to deliver on your promises and make sure your vendors are quick to respond to purchase orders.”

What’s new? “This tech-savvy group likes to try the newest, latest, and greatest devices. Keep abreast of what’s coming out and the research behind it. The yearly National Ergonomics Conference has hundreds of ergonomics vendors that display the latest devices.”