Michelle Kirby is senior vice president and chief people officer for Texas Health Resources. She joined Texas Health in 1990 as manager, Compensation, at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. In 1998, she became vice president, Compensation, Benefits and Human Resources Information System for Texas Health Resources. She was promoted in 2005 to vice president, Human Resources, and in 2008 became Texas Health’s senior vice president and chief human resources officer.
Kirby is a founder of Texas Health’s Be Healthy program and was promoted to her current role in the fall of 2014. She is a Baby Boomer by birth but a self-proclaimed RAB (Rapidly Adaptive Boomer – someone who rapidly adapts to changes in technology).
A dedicated, engaged and diverse team of people is what makes Texas Health a great place to work—and also serves to benefit the patients we are privileged to serve.
Currently, almost 29 percent of us are Baby Boomers (ages 51-69), 41 percent are Gen Xers (ages 35-50) and almost 30 percent of us are Millennials (ages 18-34). The rest of our family includes a small percentage (less than 1 percent) of people from the Silent Generation (age 70 and older) or Gen Z (under age 18).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. And many estimate that Millennials will make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2030. Texas Health has hired more Millennials than any other age group in the past five years. Going into 2017, Millennials and Gen Xers will represent the two largest employee populations in our system. The differences in our demographics present great opportunity, but also require changes in the way we communicate and interact with each other.
As the most diverse generation in U.S. history, Millennials are having a positive impact on our work at Texas Health. Our Millennial colleagues are even more civic-minded than previous generations and work in health care because they want to help people. In a word, they are “collaborative.” They view work culture as cooperative rather than competitive, and see work and life as a blended continuum of activity.
A recent Pew Research Center study found that more than 75 percent of Millennials say their top priority in their work lives is to make the world a better place—and they look for organizations with demonstrated similar intentions. As a Baby Boomer, these things also resonate with me and I bet they do with you as well – no matter what your age.
Millennials are changing the way we communicate, from the bedside to the boardroom. They expect highly targeted and actionable feedback about their performance to help them deliver higher-quality service. They also expect to be able to give feedback that influences the actions of the organization. And they expect that this two-way feedback be delivered in the moment – preferably using mobile technology.
Other generations such as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are rapidly adopting these trends to the benefit of our entire organization. I think most of us (no matter what age you might be) have adopted technology quickly. We want quicker feedback about our performance and we also want to give feedback whenever and wherever.
So how is Texas Health addressing the needs of our various generations? We will be evolving our performance feedback process, as well as our assessment of employee engagement, to better embrace in-the-moment communications. We want to hear what you think much more often than just once a year in an annual survey, and we want to allow employees and managers to talk about performance more frequently with simpler tools.
We are also reviewing the entire employment value proposition to ensure optimal work-life integration; opportunities for self-assessment, learning and growth; and collaborative work structures. We also know that we will have to shorten our communications and be more concise about telling our story—so the truth is that this blog is already probably too long for the ways we will communicate with each other in the future.
Texas Health has become known nationally for our generation-sensitive culture, as seen in our recent No. 4 ranking by Fortune and Great Place to Work® in the 20 Best Workplaces for Gen X’ers and last year’s recognition as one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials. And as a learning organization, we always want to improve and make things even better.