Chances are your board looks a lot different than it did 20 or even 10 years ago. Your colleagues represent not only a diverse array of professions and ethnicities, but of ages as well.

It shouldn't be a surprise, therefore, that generational differences are reflected among your hospital's staff and its changing workforce dynamics. Traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials have different priorities, attitudes and communication styles, which influence organizational culture and performance. Leveraging common traits across all generations to create efficient teams is critical to succeeding in a value-based environment and achieving Triple Aim outcomes.

The AHA Committee on Performance Improvement's recent report, "Managing an Intergenerational Workforce: Strategies for Health Care Transformation," was designed to help hospitals and care systems build cultures that develop and nurture employees of all ages to provide excellent patient care. The report outlines three strategies:

Build a strong generational foundation. Leaders need to understand their organization's employee profile and develop programs and policies that will support individuals at all levels of the organization.

Establish effective generational management practices. Leaders must focus on increasing the level of generational understanding among managers and supervisors so they can manage their teams better and relieve generational tensions in the workplace.

Build generational competence. Once generational strengths are identified and leaders develop practices to leverage these strengths, they can spread generational understanding and sensitivity among the entire workforce.

Organizations that capitalize on the commonalities and differences of each cohort can create an engaged workforce and gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining employees.

I encourage you to read this report, available at, and use it to start a conversation with your board about your workforce, your organization's needs and planning for its future.

Bina Eggensperger ( is COG chair and a trustee of Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains, Mont.