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Why revenue cycle needs millennials — and, like, now

Get ready, baby boomers, it’s actually happening.

Millennials, or individuals born roughly between 1980 and 2000, now number 73 million in the United States, according to the polling firm Gallup. Another estimate by PwC puts millennials at roughly one-quarter of the total United States workforce, well on pace to soon outnumber Generation X — their immediate predecessors — at all U.S. companies.

This rising generation of now twenty- and thirty-somethings has been the subject of scorn nearly since they were in diapers. Raised by their so-called helicopter parents, the conventional wisdom goes, millennials grew accustomed early on to receiving accolades and trophies for every little accomplishment, making them needier, more entitled and less hardworking adults.

Unfairly or not, these stereotypes followed millennials into adulthood. And, today, press coverage around the professional debut of generation ‘meh’ tends to focus primarily on their weaknesses:

“Want work done? Don't hire a millennial, biz owner says” (New York Daily News, April 11, 2016)

“The 'M' Word: Why I Don't Hire Millennials” (Adage, March 29, 2016)

“3 Reasons Managers Are Afraid to Hire Millennials” (Inc., Jan. 20, 2016)

Of course, this common bias doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, millennials are different. There’s little disagreement about that. Still, this ascendant generation offers a tremendous opportunity for U.S. companies, especially in healthcare businesses such as revenue cycle, where their unique skills set is in high demand.

You just have to get to know them.

Millennials: The skinny

Just as millennials were entering the job market en masse in 2011, PwC took a deep dive into the generation and its priorities. In this seminal study, “Millennial at work: Reshaping the workplace,” the consultancy’s findings reinforced what many in corporate America were beginning to experience anecdotally: This generation is different from older generations in three distinct ways.

First, they’re not motivated solely by money:

“Development and work/life balance are more important than financial reward: This generation are committed to their personal learning and development and this remains their first choice benefit from employers. In second place they want flexible working hours. Cash bonuses come in at a surprising third place.”

Second, they have high expectations about moving up the corporate ladder quickly:

“Career progression is the top priority for millennials who expect to rise rapidly through the organization. 52 percent said this was the main attraction in an employer, coming ahead of competitive salaries in second place (44 percent).”

And, finally, they’re bucking the norms when it comes to interacting and collaborating at work and with clients:

       “41 percent say they prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or even over the telephone.”

Another workplace study by Gallup, Inc., five years later confirmed many of PwC’s original conclusions. In its findings, the polling firm distilled millennials down into six primary workplace-related “wants,” all of which represent a change from the status quo: 1) a purpose, not a paycheck; 2) professional development, not job satisfaction; 3) coaches, not bosses; 4) ongoing conversations, not annual reviews; 5) develop strengths, not fix weaknesses; and 6) a lifestyle, not a job.

Millenials also are demographically very different from their parents and grandparents. According to a 2014 Neilson study, it’s the most racially and ethnically diverse generation this country has ever seen: 19 percent of millennials are Hispanic, 14 percent are African American and 5 percent are Asian.

3 reasons why National Medical loves millennials

Revenue cycle management for ambulatory surgery centers is a challenging business. The coding is complex, no two problems are the same, and there’s big money at stake if it’s not done right. At National Medical Billing Services, our success is entirely due to all of our talented and hardworking employees — baby boomers, Generation Xers and, yes, millennials. Still, while each generation contributes in its own unique way, the millennial skill set, in general, elevates the entire staff here at National Medical in three primary ways:

They know how to collaborate: Working across departments is key to success in revenue cycle. At National Medical, millennials collaborate seamlessly across job functions, are willing to take on responsibility and frequently bypass the traditional workplace hierarchy to get a task done. In my experience, they’re not afraid to speak up to get a job done right. And you know what? That’s exactly what our clients want, too.

They work smart: At National Medical, we face a variety of complex issues daily that require deft problem-solving skills — and sometimes at odd hours. Yes, millennials appear much more focused on striking a work-life balance. But that doesn’t mean they’re unwilling to work on a Saturday if necessary.

They understand technology: Today, it often seems as though anyone under 40 was born with an iPhone in their hand. Well, it’s probably not too far from the truth — and it’s a huge advantage for our clients. We work in dozens of different client-based software systems every day, and automation and analytics more and more are becoming part of our standard offering. And not only do they understand technology, but they’re also quick to help others get up to speed.

At National Medical, we’ve also learned that the three generations in the workplace today — baby boomers, Generation X and millennials — have much more in common than they don’t. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review analysis by KPMG partner Bruce Pfau argues that there’s very little science to back up today’s anti-millennial fervor. In a study of KPMG’s 30,000-person workforce, he found that millennial favorability ratings were within 5 percentage points of everyone else on 88 measures of morale and work life.

“Millennials don't want to be managed, they like to be led, coached and mentored. This generation is on fire and ready to go. Are you ready to change the world?”
― Farshad Asl

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