Enhancing Referral Networks: A Generational Approach

Remember the joy of opening a pristine box of colored pencils as a child? Each pencil, vibrant and uniform, offered endless possibilities for creativity.

Similar to the way those pencils elevated our coloring adventures, incorporating tailored generational strategies can have a beneficial effect on referral sources, providing unique and memorable avenues to explore new referral opportunities.

We are all immigrants to other generations’ cultural territories. Each generation brings unique experiences, values, and traditions. Adapting communication styles to meet generational expectations builds stronger relationships and trust.

As we navigate the landscape of generational categories, it’s essential to recognize the diverse perspectives and communication preferences each group embodies. Baby boomers may appreciate direct and formal communication, while millennials and Gen Z might prefer informal and technology-driven interactions. By understanding and respecting these differences, dental practices can effectively tailor their outreach efforts to resonate with each generation.

Changing demographics within the dental profession also influences referral dynamics. Understanding these shifts is crucial for nurturing referral communities and adapting marketing strategies accordingly.

In 2022, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) reported that 50.5% of dental school first-year students were female. This demographic trend is reshaping the dynamics of dental practices, with many women opting for part-time roles, especially after starting a family. Additionally, there is a growing preference among younger dentists, particularly millennials (Gen Y) and Gen Z, to forgo solo practices in favor of collaborative models. These changes influence the way referrals are managed and highlight the importance of adapting referral marketing strategies to accommodate evolving provider demographics.

A blended marketing effort, combining passive and active marketing strategies, yields the best results in establishing and maintaining a successful referral program.

Passive marketing efforts serve as subtle reminders of a practice’s presence and expertise. Branded gifts, delivered by a third party keep the practice top-of-mind among referral sources. Additionally, informative blogs can showcase the practice’s knowledge and capabilities, positioning it as a trusted authority in the field.

Active marketing strategies, such as face-to-face meetings and personalized presentations, facilitate deeper connections with referral partners. These interactions allow for meaningful dialogue and the opportunity to align services with the specific needs and preferences of each referral source. By sharing insights into the practice’s ideal patient profile and unique offerings, practices can effectively communicate their value proposition and foster stronger referral relationships.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s essential for practices to differentiate themselves by identifying and leveraging their unique strengths or “superpowers.” Rather than attempting to be a jack-of-all-trades, practices should focus on defining their niche and becoming known as experts in a particular area of care.

Identifying a practice’s superpower involves introspection and an honest assessment of its strengths, weaknesses, and areas of expertise.

Whether it’s a specialized treatment modality, innovative technology, or exceptional patient experience, every practice has something that sets it apart from the competition. By defining and marketing this superpower effectively, practices can attract patients and referrals who are precisely seeking the services they excel at providing.

Taking active marketing efforts one step further by developing tailored presentations for referring offices and potential referral sources. These presentations provide an opportunity to showcase the practice’s expertise and educate referral partners about specific treatment modalities or services. By delivering targeted presentations focused on areas of mutual interest or need, practices can deepen their relationships with referral sources and increase the likelihood of receiving quality referrals.

For example, a periodontist may develop a presentation on grafting procedures and their benefits for patients. By collaborating with referring offices to better educate them about these procedures, the periodontist can increase awareness and referrals for this specialized service. Additionally, personalized presentations allow practices to highlight their brand culture and ideal client profile, reinforcing their value proposition and differentiating themselves from competitors.

In recent years, there has been a decline in the membership of traditional dental study clubs and associations. This trend is indicative of broader demographic shifts within the dental profession, with younger generations assuming leadership roles as baby boomers retire. To remain relevant and attractive to a diverse membership base, study clubs and associations must adapt their offerings and event formats to align with generational preferences and demographic trends.

By diversifying event agendas and incorporating elements such as recorded live and virtual sessions, expert panels, and interactive workshops, study clubs and associations can appeal to a broader audience and provide greater value to their members. Offering flexible scheduling options, such as breakfast or lunch meetings instead of evening events, accommodates the busy schedules of modern dental professionals and enhances accessibility.

By embracing generational diversity, adapting marketing strategies, and varying meeting formats, practices can cultivate meaningful connections with referral partners. Implementing action plans such as identifying practice superpowers and drafting inclusive event calendars empowers practices to thrive in an evolving dental community. Let’s embrace these strategies to enhance our referral networks and foster continued growth and success in an evolving dental landscape. Connect with me if you’re interested in strategizing ideas for crafting your practice’s unique selling proposition one-sheet or boosting your association/study club attendance and membership.

Generational Smiles: Strategies For Successful Treatment And Product Recommendations

Embracing the traditions of my father, a devoted Traditionalist, I continue the endearing practice of tipping with $2 bills.

His unique gesture always elicited smiles and prompted delightful conversations about cherished memories. He created a positive experience with his unique gesture.

As we sorted through his belongings after his passing at the age of 97, we stumbled upon a hidden treasure of… you guessed it, $2 dollar bills!

Tasked with inheriting this collection due to my frequent travels, I’ve adopted the joyful responsibility of perpetuating his legacy. Using these special bills for tips has become a heartwarming and enjoyable means for me to stay connected with him, keeping his spirit alive in the simple act of generosity.

Create a memorable, positive experiences that cater to the diverse needs of every generation

Have you ever found it challenging to connect with a patient or experienced resistance to treatment or product recommendations? The key may lie in understanding and bridging generational gaps in communication styles. Here is a strategic, comprehensive breakdown of four generations that today’s dental practices encounter. Included are insights on how to effectively interact with generational diversity in the dental practice.


Traditionalists (before 1946): Prefer Provider Guidance

Traditionalists appreciate clear and straightforward solutions when receiving recommendations from their healthcare provider. When presenting a treatment plan, aim for uncomplicated explanations that resonate with their preference for simplicity. Emphasize the longevity and durability of suggested solutions, ensuring they align with what suits them best. To bolster their confidence, offer real-life examples of patients within a similar age range who have undergone similar treatments successfully.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964): Valuing Personal Connection

Baby Boomers appreciate thorough explanations and prefer direct communication in person or by phone. They dislike feeling rushed, and taking the time for a relaxed discussion is crucial. Emphasize the benefits of a good smile and sound dental health, aligning their treatment with these values. Given their often-ample resources, schedule their treatments thoughtfully and extend an invitation for further questions.

Generation X (1965-1977): Ideal Plans and Clear Communication

Generation X, characterized by respect for authority and linear thinking, respond well to ideal treatment plans with phased scheduling and payment options. As high achievers, they value dental health for appearance and overall well-being. Follow-up communication, preferably through text or email, is appreciated.

Generation Y/Millennials (1978-1999): Desire Instant Gratification

Millennials are technology-dependent, seeking instant gratification and despising delays. To connect with them, be patient-attentive, provide same-day service, and combine appointments efficiently.

Gen Z (2000-2016): A Future-Focused Approach

Gen Z is future-oriented and prioritizes prevention while being cost-conscious. Deliver explanations and options that emphasize prevention, aligning with their forward-thinking mindset. As advocates for avoiding future expenses, they are an excellent fit for dental practices with a strong focus on preventive care.

Customizing dental product recommendations is equally crucial. Each generation has distinct preferences, needs, and communication styles that should be considered.

Traditionalists (Born before 1946): Simplicity and Reliability

• Keep it simple.
• Emphasize durability and reliability.
• Use respectful, formal language.
• Highlight products with a long history of success.
• Leverage personal testimonials and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964): Health, Aesthetics, and Trust

• Focus on health and aesthetics.
• Highlight products that improve or maintain appearance.
• Emphasize value for money and long-term benefits.
• Provide detailed information and studies to build trust.
• Adopt a professional and respectful tone.

Gen X (1965-1977): Convenience and Independence

• Offer convenience and practicality.
• Mention time-saving features or benefits.
• Use a straightforward, informative approach.
• Provide options and flexibility.
• Appeal to their desire for independence and self-care.

Gen Y (1978-1999): Technology and Social Values

• Emphasize technology and innovation.
• Align with environmental and social values.
• Utilize visuals, videos, and online reviews.
• Be concise and address cost-effectiveness and customization potential.

Gen Z (2000-2016): Technology and Sustainability

• Leverage technology and interactivity.
• Appeal to their desire for self-expression and uniqueness.
• Showcase products aligning with sustainability and ethical values.
• Use social media and influencers for recommendations.
• Keep the message short and visually engaging.

Adapting Strategies: Beyond Products to Communication

Customization extends beyond products to communication and marketing strategies. Consider different channels such as social media, email, or in-person consultations based on the preferences of the generation you are targeting. Gathering feedback from each generation can help refine recommendations over time, ensuring your dental practice meets their evolving needs and expectations. Embrace these insights to create a successful, patient-focused practice that caters to the diverse needs of every generation.

Unlocking the Enigma of Generation Z: Idealism Meets Pragmatism

Exploring the Unique Qualities of Gen Z Allows Us to Navigate Generational Dynamics

In a Newsweek article, journalist Adam Piore unveiled some intriguing insights into Generation Z, often perceived as idealists and dreamers. However, Gen Z distinguishes itself through a blend of global and local concerns that set them apart from previous generations.

Breaking the Stereotypes

Before delving into Gen Z’s distinctive characteristics, it’s worth noting that Newsweek has featured cover stories about every generation. Frequently, these stories touch upon familiar themes such as entitlement and work ethics. But Gen Z is challenging these stereotypes in unexpected ways.

Gen Z’s Top Concerns

Contrary to the image of carefree youth, Generation Z has its sights firmly set on the future, with specific concerns dominating their thoughts. Gen Z’s worries are highly practical and include money (67%), securing a job (64%), and affording college education (59%). These concerns reveal a pragmatic mindset and a clear focus on personal well-being and financial stability.

Defining a Generational Cohort

What truly defines a generational cohort? According to the US Census Bureau, it’s the events they encounter during their formative years. These events, whether global, technological, economic, or social, interact with the life cycle and aging process to mold people’s worldviews. Often, these moments are accompanied by fear and uncertainty, leaving an indelible emotional impact.

Generational Experiences: Shaping Perspectives

For instance, consider the Vietnam War era, a defining event for the Baby Boomer generation. During this period, older adults felt fear and worry, having experienced the horrors of World War II. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, exhibited mixed emotions—fear coupled with a sense of excitement, as they anticipated sharing this experience with friends. For Generation X, like me, it was the stress of living through this uncertain time.

The Generational Lens

This generational lens allows researchers to explore not only how older adults felt about a particular issue in their youth but also how views evolve across generations. It helps us understand how events shape the way we perceive the world and how these perceptions transcend age boundaries.

Gen Z: The Emerging Giant

Gen Z, the cohort succeeding the Millennials (aka Gen Y), comprises an astonishing 25% of the US population, making them the largest generation yet, surpassing both Baby Boomers and Millennials. But it’s not just birth years that define a generation; geography also plays a substantial role. Additionally, Cuspers, individuals born within three to five years of the beginning or end of a generation, offer unique insights. They straddle two generations, making them exceptionally empathetic and adept at understanding the generational “DNA.”

Generational Context: Different Experiences, Different Impact

Generational context is vital in comprehending how different generations react to the same events. Events can impact generations differently, leaving a lasting imprint on their collective consciousness.

Audience Check-In: Do You Know What Cohort You Are?

Now, let’s see where you fall. Raise your hand if you identify as a Baby Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y (Millennial), or Gen Z. The more you understand about yourself and how you are perceived, the easier it is to adapt to other generations.

Gen Z’s Workplace Revolution

When it comes to being employees, Gen Z is poised to revolutionize the workplace. They seek more than just superficial alignment with company brands. Their expectation is that companies and brands will transcend marketing buzzwords and make tangible, measurable differences in society. This pragmatic approach resonates not only in their expectations of employers but also in their personal concerns, reflecting a generation that values real-world impact.

Conclusion

Generation Z, the largest cohort yet, defies stereotypes with their forward-looking, pragmatic mindset. They are defined not only by their birth years but also by the unique experiences that shape their worldview. Cuspers, those straddling two generations, offer a special perspective, making them invaluable bridges between age groups. As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of generational dynamics, understanding the distinct qualities and concerns of each cohort is crucial for fostering empathy and building a more inclusive society.

To deepen your comprehension of generational cohorts and enhance collaborative efforts across age groups, I invite you to arrange a discovery call with me. This session will provide an opportunity for us to delve into the intricacies and investigate the specific aspects that pique your interest.

Bonus

Seeking ways to enhance team communication while enjoying a winter retreat? It’s time to kick off your preparations for the CE In The Mountains all-team event, scheduled for February 23-24, 2024, in the picturesque Park City, UT.

This event will center around improving communication and boosting productivity through engaging activities in the stunning mountain setting.

Watch the short video below for more details.

Intentional Words Increase Engagement and Profit

Communication Profit Poem

The way we communicate to one and all,

Can make or break a 1:1, a consultation, or a call.

Be thoughtful when selecting certain words and phrases…choosing the ones that can pay,

Or you could end up having an abrupt ending to a conversation… and a very long, bad day.

If we insert the right word in the most effective place…we will set a better tone,

Small generational verbal changes lead to communication profit…in person or on the phone.

A profession that uses the word BUY… it may behoove you to switch,

INVEST implies a profit, or a win….and much less of a sales pitch.

SELL is a word that many dislike… when using or hearing it aloud,

A CUSTOMIZED RECOMMENDATION, however…leaves the patient feeling special and proud.

PATIENT terminology is universal… but overused and dated,

CLIENT is one level up from that and very highly rated.

To make the best impression…a title that will ensure comfort, trust, and ease,

Refer to everyone as a GUEST… and include an abundance of touchpoints, thank you and please!

Word Solutions

WAITING ROOM vs. RECEPTION AREA or LOUNGE …either has a more calming implication,

If your schedule is delayed and the guest awaits…treat them like they’re on a vacation.

CLOSING, as in closing the deal…can imply termination or the end,

OPEN means the beginning…a partnership in the relationship trend.

EARNINGS gives you an accurate number…and practical information,

PROFIT indicates you have a gain…a positive interpretation.

A BILL is added to the stack on the desk…to get around to it when you can,

An INVOICE has better credibility… and details the payment plan.

SIGNING a document or APPROVING a treatment plan…which has a better feel?

If you selected APPROVING, you’re on the right track…to better guest appeal.

Select one or two words…three if you’re feeling quite smart,

Practice replacing the good with the better…a perfect place to start.

Communication strategies can positively impact your day-to-day profit and plan,

You’ll see changes in relationships by implementing positive chatter…and quickly become a fan.

Intentional vocabulary starts with awareness…and a willingness to adjust,

Begin by having a communication plan and a system that you trust.

Bonus: Watch How to Increase Treatment Case Acceptance from a Generational Approach

Resolve to Evolve by Embracing Generational Differences

We Are All Immigrants To The Other Generations!

The more generations on your team, the more the Generational Friction Factor becomes a reality. If we get customized communication right, we can create a harmonious, highly productive team. This also results in higher treatment case acceptance from our patients!

Having four, and possibly five, generations working side-by-side is not a new concept. It began when Gen Y, aka the Millennials, entered the workforce. The outstanding beliefs and values of each generation are VERY different! Understanding and respecting each generation’s expectations will significantly impact our practice success in all aspects.

Workforce and Patient Snapshot

Traditionalists (1927-1945) Small percentage of the workforce

Baby boomers (1946-1964) Retiring

Gen X (1965-1977) Currently holding leadership roles

Millennials (Gen Y 1978-1999) Largest % in the workforce in the next 5 years

Gen Z (Globals 2000-2016) Largest, fastest-growing cohort beginning to enter the workforce

Clinical Practice Impact of Gen Z

Gen Z, the youngest generation entering the workforce, is the future of our dental practices.  They are the patients and employees that will contribute to practice growth. COVID-19 has impacted them significantly.

Gen Z has not reached critical mass as patients or employees. They are already disproportionately driving changes in dentistry. Their ability to connect instantly and disseminate information globally is impacting us all at an accelerating rate.

Understanding who they are and what they want NOW gives us insight into what to expect in the future. For any practice leader, the pandemic creates a critical opportunity to understand and respect how all generations are experiencing this challenging time through their own generational lens.

If you’d like to learn more about Gen Z and the influence they are having on dentistry, let’s chat.  I designed a new team workshop:  Embracing Gen Z in Dentistry Today.

Who Are Gen Z?

Adam Piore wrote an article in Newsweek that revealed interesting qualities of Gen Z. They are often thought of as idealists or dreamers, but their top concerns and priorities are both global and “local” in nature.

By the way, Newsweek has published cover stories about every generation since Traditionalists. The common topics may sound familiar,  “They are so entitled”, “They don’t have any work ethics”.

Gen Z worry about the future, specifically their own, including:

  • Money (67%)
  • Getting a job (64%)
  • Paying for college (59%)

When it comes to being an employee, they want to truly embrace the practice brand. Their expectations are that companies and brands will go beyond marketing to truly measurable impact.

Feedback or Coaching: Which is More Effective?

The younger the generation, the higher the expectation for ongoing coaching and mentorship.

Feedback focuses on the past; Mistakes that have already occurred and cannot be fixed. To put it simply, traditional feedback is one direction and typically a negative experience.

  • Manager to employee
  • Episodic (i.e., infrequent, and isolated)

What you really want is an open, honest, two-way conversation to strengthen relationships rather than a one-sided dialogue and criticism. Coaching conversations are collaborative and create mutual solutions that focus on the employee’s strengths and future potential.

In many professional situations, a successful outcome is based on emotional factors:

  • How a person feels after interacting with you
  • How a team feels about a new initiative or product implementation

Consider being a coach and a mentor vs a boss or a senior colleague.

Generational Dress Code

Enjoy this short video recorded for the Seattle Study Club: Dental Tips for Generational Dress Codes

16 Ways to Retain Dental Team Members

The time is now to pivot to what employees genuinely want in this employee-driven workforce. 

This chart summarizes ideas to consider that will influence your hiring and staying power.

The ultimate goal/outcome is to hire and continually engage a happy, healthy, and permanent team.

Benefits and Perks

Are only part of the equation to attract and retain team members. Retention requires having people-centric leaders. Influential leaders are experts in serving others and building a successful culture.

Most employees are looking for fair pay. You may think you fall into that category, but the best way to know is to look at the data. DentalPost released the 2022 Salary Survey. A deep dive into all team positions and salaries nationwide. If you want to know where your practice falls as far as wages, download the publication.

Diversifying benefits and customizing packages to meet the generations where they are at is particularly important, especially with the Gen Y and Z, the younger generations. They may want assistance with day/doggy care, flexible hours/days, and morning or evening revolving shifts. Administrative positions may request to work from home a day or two a week. Dentistry can and should adopt flexibility, but you need to know what potential and existing team members are looking for before you make a plan.

Educational growth is equally important. Whether it is CEU or institutional learning, give your team an opportunity to gain experience and apply new knowledge and skill within your practice.

Provide Career Opportunities and Growth

Empowering growth that aligns with their skills, interests, and goals will create more engagement and loyalty. Rethink the traditional career training and team progression. Create a mentorship program and cross-training department/function opportunities.

As employees continue to build their education be sure to award them with progressive titles, seniority recognition, and pay.

Provide More Face Time with Employees

One-on-one time with leaders is increasing in importance. Leaders should prioritize meeting with their team to discuss career path goals and growth opportunities. If you are only providing annual (or less) reviews, your employee pool will shrink quickly. Ongoing coaching and communication are critical.

Developing a visual progression plan paints a clear picture of each team members career evolution and development so they have an accurate understanding of their professional path.

Embracing and participating in team-building strategies quarterly will enhance professional and personal relationships. When team relationships thrive, the patients become loyal, and the practice grows without effort.

Communication Coaching

Every conversation has a consequence. Lack of communication is a primary cause of team disengagement and turnover.

Frequent, real-time coaching, not feedback, is necessary to keep our teams engaged. Feedback has a negative interpretation. The situation has already occurred and cannot be corrected. Coaching is ongoing with positive affirmations and collaborative solutions. Continual mentorship and coaching, by all team members, should be encouraged. It sets the office tone and creates a safe environment for all.

Want a quick recap?

Watch the video below 16 Tips to Attract and Retain Dental Team Members.

Dental Relationship Update: A Generational Approach

Relationships are the cornerstone of business and life.

Having just moved to a new city, where we do not know anyone, we have accepted the challenge and embraced the excitement of making new friends and routines.

For most of us, we are out of our comfort zone with change.  However, calculating and customizing your approach will make a huge difference in the end result.

Whenever I interact with someone new, I take a generational approach and ask myself:  How can I communicate from their generational perspective?

RELATIONSHIPS

The “R” in my iRONMAN Principles of Communication refers to relationship building.

Learning to customize your generational language with each patient and team member will escalate the relationship building and drive productive results.

Learn more about customizing your dental generational language here.

PATIENT RELATIONSHIPS

Build the dental patient and team relationships according to their unique generational preferences.

  • Boomers and Traditionalists want to get to know you first, then talk business.  They value dental health and often have financial resources for treatment.
    • Be Aware of being all business, you’ll lose this patient or team member
    • Be Thorough with explanations with a relaxed conversation
  • Gen X prefer brevity and directness; Utilize technology if appropriate; Minimal chit-chat after business
    • Be Aware of asking too many personal questions
    • Recommend ideal treatment options that include a treatment schedule and financial plan
  • Gen Y and Z demand technology; Enjoy interaction and genuine connections: Seek an experience; Utilize text / instant messaging.
    • Be Aware that email and voicemail will not prompt a response
    • Maximize appointment time and provide same day service (if possible)
    • Create a strong online presence to attract patients and employees

Learn more here about generational differences in patient engagement.

CONCLUSION:

“Autopilot” during our dental day definitely has a place.  But I challenge you to ask yourself, “Is there is a better way to communicate with this patient or team member to yield better results?” 

Take a chance on change and break the dental routines that we covet.  You’ll discover that it:  improves your interactions with patients and team members, positively impacts efficiency, and leads to practice productivity.

It isn’t enough to only institute changes at the management level. We all need to commit.  Give it a try next week!

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.

Snap Shot of Generational Work Ethics

Generational Immigrants

Have you ever wondered why your colleagues make the decisions they do at work?  Sometimes I scratch my head in confusion and other times I applaud in awe at the unique and creative approach to an opportunity.  Then I remember, “Its Generational”!  Recognizing this influences positive team harmony and allows everyone to have a voice.

Work ethics and values are influenced, in part, by generational qualities. Superior inter-generational relationships are built from understanding who we are and how we are perceived.

The first question to ask is, “Who am I”?  The categories are based on a particular span of years and the ethics are developed from experiencing world events during that particular time frame.  Keep in mind you may be a “Cusper”, bridging two generations.  That is the category I fall into.  I am born on the last year of the Baby Boomer however, my qualities are predominantly Gen X.

Below are the generational categories and their common workplace values with the most important one highlighted last on the list.

Traditionalists (1927-1945)

Team player, Indirect, Loyal, Hard Worker, Rule follower, Respectful, Seniority and age correlate.  They want to be recognized for their years of experience.

Baby Boomer (1946-1964)          

Optimistic, Creative, Healthy, Enjoy personal gratification, Workaholic, Uncomfortable with conflict, Want respect

Gen X (1965-1977)           

Positive, Impatient, Goal Oriented, Multi-tasker, To-do lists, Self-reliant, Techno-literal, Question authority, Want flexibility to create work-life balance.

Gen Y (1978-1999)           

Confident, Social, Diverse, Techno-savvy, Tenacious, Multi-tasker, Like flexibility, Inclusion with “like” peers is very important.    

Gen Z (2000-Present) 

Entrepreneurial. Progressive, Less Religious, Individualistic, Digital Natives, Lonely, Diverse, Overwhelmed   

Generational Geopardy

Generations working side-by-side is not a new concept. However, recent years have included four and now five generations in the workforce.  Move over Millennials, Gen Z is just starting to enter the workforce.

Now that we understand ourselves and each other better, let’s look at how we can improve on business relationships and interactions with a game I call Generational Geopardy. Please note, Gen Z is not included due to their limited time in the workforce to date.

Fill in the blanks from the word list below to develop a tool you can refer to for inter-generational communication tips. Each word is used only once.

Generational Geopardy Blanks

Comfortable

Workaholic

In-Person / Telephone

Instant Gratification

Unfamiliar

 

         

          

Although the generations have different values, they also share many similarities and it is wise to recognize them.  Engagement opportunities occur when we respect differences and focus on commonalities such as:

  • We want to be heard.
  • We want to take part in meaningful work.
  • We want to contribute and make a difference.
  • We want to feel genuinely appreciated.
  • We want to be recognized as a person rather than a “number” at work.
  • We want to develop into our full potential.

Generational Communication Application

How do we translate the information we know about each generation into applicable use? Since the Traditionalists comprise less than 2% of our current workforce we’ll work within the other three categories.

One area we could customize is using their preferred method of communication. As a Gen X, I reach out to people via email and text so I can continue to progress through my day efficiently.  That is also the way I prefer people to communicate with me.  However, if I am working with a Baby Boomer, I will either pick up the phone and call or visit their office for an actual conversation!  Oh my!  You might be surprised at the results you get by implementing customized strategies like these.

Generational Geopardy Answers

Success and referrals come from relationship building. Part of that formula is adapting your interaction style.

I challenge you to use the Generational Geopardy worksheet as a guide to customizing your inter-generational communication.  Begin within your team then expand the techniques you master into your company, clients and personal life.

As you strengthen your generational skills and comfort level, you will be perceived differently and respected more by all the generations.

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland, RDH, CSP.  All Rights Reserved

Learning to Embrace the Generational Friction Factor

Dad and Gardening

Last spring I decided to plant a garden.  Having grown up in the Northeast region of the US, with a father who is a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer, I was accustom to homegrown delicacies year round!  I now live in the Northwest region, where rain is abundant and sunshine scarce…farming would be challenging.  Before starting, I researched the planting zones and visited a local nursery to chat with the experts.   After purchasing the seeds most likely to thrive and the proper fertilizer and soil, I was ready to begin. Each morning started with an evaluation for the need for watering, weeding and feeding to customize a plan accordingly.  Within a month my efforts were rewarded with a beautiful garden.

The lessons learned were simple, but essential for success. Gardens need customized care based on the exposure to elements:  weather, sun and soil.  If any of the essentials were missing, the garden would not thrive.

The same principles can be applied to our current work force environments.  In order for our teams to thrive, we must customize our generational language to create a harmonious team that is empowered to succeed.

A Generational Snapshot

Looking at generational snapshot in the USA, each have personalities influenced by multiple historic events.

  • Traditionalists, 1927-1945: Great Depression, WWII
  • Baby Boomers, 1946-1964: Moon Walk, JFK / MLK Assassination, Vietnam War
  • Generation X, 1965-1977: Watergate, Oil Crisis, AIDS, Dot-Com, Gulf War
  • Generation Y, 1978-1999: Columbine, OK City Bomb, 911, Katrina
  • Generation Z, 2000-Present: Widespread terror alerts, Global unrest, Abundent global access to information

Generations are Colliding

For the first time in history, we currently have four to five generations in the work force and the Friction Factor is real. Companies, large and small, are experiencing dissatisfied employees and high turnover rates. A recent study by Accenture reports the top four reasons people leave a job are:  lack of recognition/appreciation, internal politics, lack of empowerment and they don’t like their boss.  The majority of reasons why employees quit are under the control of the employer.  From a generational perspective, we can customize our language and interaction with each group to support their needs and create a meaningful environment for all. The right question to consider is, “How do we best appeal to each generation and appreciate them in their preferred language”?   First we need know the various generations of the company.  The Traditionalists and the Baby Boomers include our more senior employees.  Generation X are now middle age, taking on management roles, and Y and Z compile the younger team members.  Each category has a unique potential to contribute to company growth IF we speak in the generational language that best appeals to them.

Let’s say you are a Baby Boomer Director of Sales, about to provide feedback to a Generation Y, Professional Sales Representative.  Your interaction with him / her from a verbal, non-verbal and technological standpoint will influence their motivation and productivity.

 Take the Generational Challenge

Below are six examples of how a company can more effectively communicate with varying generations.

  1. Dress to meet the expectations of the oldest generation. Gen Y, if you have a meeting with a Baby Boomer:
    • Men, wear a button down collared shirt, tie and jacket
    • Women, a conservative dress or dress shirt with a skirt or pants
  2. Generation X prefer to maximize efficiency. Email and text is the preferred form communication.
  3. The older the generation, the more they equate title with respect. Call each person by an appropriate title, “Mrs. Hall”, “Dr. Jones”.
  4. When providing support information about your product, determine which type of resource speaks the right language. Tangible paper resources vs. technology.  Traditionalists and Boomers are not as familiar / comfortable with technology as compared to the younger generations. Choose accordingly.
  5. Gen Y and Z are connected 24/7. Technology and flexibility are company cultures they seek.
  6. Senior teammates build relationships first…business second. Follow up with a personal phone call vs. an email or text.

I invite you to select three challenges from above to customize your generational language to increase employee career satisfaction and company growth. To learn more about how you can apply effective generational tactics in your life connect with Lisa Copeland Communications.

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.

When Dental Shift Happens: Are You Speaking the Right Generational Language?

Shifter

When Dental Shift Happens:  Are You Speaking the Right Generational Language?

Last weekend was very emotional, finding myself watching a complete stranger lurch and stutter an old manual shift 1997 Subaru Outback out of the garage and away to its new home.  SuBe (my car) was a member of our family for almost two decades.    The ecstatic new owner admitted it had been many years since being behind the wheel of a manual transmission. Listening to the disruptive grinding of gears and a popping clutch was a loud reminder of how familiar, comfortable and confident I had become driving this car.  It would take the new owner a bit of time to achieve a comfortable, smooth shift.

A generational shift in the healthcare industry has disrupted practices out of their comfort zone.

This shift has altered the way dental practices need to operate in order to increase revenue and growth.  Practice capacity is the big issue; and due to the natural process of patient attrition, it is imperative to maintain a steady influx of new patients while continuing to appeal to the existing ones.

Examining the Generational Snapshot

Currently there are four and maybe even five generations in the work force and five generations of potential patients. The right question to consider is, “How do we best appeal to each generation”?   Patients that are “long in the tooth” are the Traditionalists and the Baby Boomers.  Generation X, Y and Z compile the middle age and younger patients.  Each category has a unique potential to contribute to practice growth IF we speak in the generational language that best appeals to them.

For example, Mrs. Hall is 65 years young and is scheduled for a consultation to discuss treatment options for replacing several missing teeth.  Your interaction with her from a verbal, non-verbal and technological standpoint will influence her decision to either accept or reject your recommended treatment.

Speaking the Right Generational Language:

Below are some examples of how a dental practice can more effectively communicate with Traditionalist and Baby Boomer patients:

  • DR’s. – Men, keep a button down collared shirt, tie and a white lab jacket handy. Women, a dress shirt and white lab jacket. Put it on before seeing a more senior patient as opposed to wearing scrubs.
  • Call each patient by an appropriate title, “Mrs. Hall”, “Dr. Jones”.
  • ALL STAFF – Wear a name tag positioned on the RIGHT lapel. This allows the patient to more easily view your name while shaking hands.
  • Tangible paper resources and models vs. technology. Traditionalists and Boomers are not as familiar / comfortable with technology as compared to the younger generations. Choose accordingly.
  • Create a packet of printed consultation discussion options and additional information.
  • Follow up with a personal phone call.

I invite you to challenge your practice to customize interaction with patients based on their generational age group to increase practice revenue and growth.

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.