As hospitals and health systems assess how they can attract and retain millennials in their operations, hospital boards are asking the same question.

Millennial Nicholas Tejeda, CEO of the Hospitals of Providence Transmountain Campus in El Paso, Texas, says that governing boards that want to attract younger members should start by establishing a vision that strikes a chord with millennials. “Principles are what resonate with millennials,” Tejeda says. “There are a lot of things millennials care about just as much as any other generation did, such as that the organization has a noble vision and it’s based on serving a community. “

Tejeda should know. He started a millennial advisory group comprising successful young leaders. The group helps Tejeda and his team to gain perspective on the millennial generation and also to identify leaders who have the interest and aptitude to perhaps later serve on their governing board.

“It’s a pipeline of development for us that’s very deliberate and focused on that generation,” he says. Tejeda says the group has been essential in understanding how millennials view health care providers and how they make decisions.

“The insights they provide into how they evaluate health care providers was invaluable,” he said. “We read studies on how they make decisions, but when you actually sit down and talk, it is surprising the insights you can get. I think the bigger value, clearly, is just learning from them about how we should function differently for our sake, a hospital organization.”

Among the insights Tejeda has garnered:

  • There are strong opportunities for hospitals to develop new consumer engagement opportunities by telling more stories through the eyes of the patient.
  • Speed, efficiency and cost effectiveness are critical factors when millennials select a health care provider.
  • It is essential to contemplate the importance of work-life balance and how that applies to a millennial workforce.

Recruting millennials to serve on a health system's board isn't just a matter of career advancement and succession planning. It also gives trustees insight into how the younger generation approaches health care today.