Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Web Secret #352: Millenials - attention must be paid

If you pay even vague attention to the news, you probably noticed a recent proliferation of studies and articles informing us that "people born between 1980 and 2000 now outnumber baby boomers."

More importantly, a study by the University of North Carolina Business School, "Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace," indicated that while Millenials consisted of 34% of the workforce in 2014, there will be 46% of them in the workforce in 2020, 5 short years from now.

Are you ready? They will be game changers. They invented social media. They came of age in a terrible economy which forced them to think outside the box when it came to employment. They will be using your EAP or your private mental health practice. They are less concerned with confidentiality (they divulge just about everything to their peers on Facebook,) and much more about convenience.

Let me give you an example that is not EAP/clinically based but is very prototypical. In a recent article in the New York Times, "Power Lunches Are Out. Crumbs in the Keyboard Are In," John Koblin reported that Millenials are eschewing lunching at Manhattan restaurants in favor of "conference rooms; over coffee, cocktails or breakfast; on Skype, Gchat or email. The status conferred upon those who get the best seat in the house is not necessary or even valuable to this crew, which measures its clout in retweets and followers, not table position." Fancy restaurants are not conducive to sharing a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop screen. Many larger companies offer inexpensive or even free cafeteria food.

My take? The winners: online eat in websites like GrubHub, food trucks, and informal eateries like Chipotle or Pain Quotidien. The losers: the Manhattan restaurant industry.

You do not want to be the Manhattan restaurant industry. I expect that the larger EAP companies are focusing on this young demographic. But I am not sure about the smaller players or the individual practitioners.

So here are my recommendations:

1. If you don't already have a website, it's time. It can be very simple, and very inexpensive. If you are not sure how to do it, hire someone.

2. If you are not offering your services via online video platforms, get going. I am the parent of three very social Millenials. Two are college aged, and the other is 25. I am exposed to a multitude of their friends. Obamacare means that counseling is covered by insurance and Millenials are covered under their parent's insurance until they are 26. For this age group counseling is increasingly stigma free. And I can tell you that many access mental health services only online.

If you are not tech savvy, and even if you are, note that online therapy is NOT therapy just delivered online. There are unique logistical, paperwork, licensing and encryption issues (and that's for starters.) I strongly recommend becoming distance counseling certified through the Online Therapy Institute or other similar expert provider.

3. Consider making appointments and confirming them using e-mail or even better, text.

4. Consider creating an app that showcases your expertise, your credentials and your publication. You don't even need to know how to code. Check out .

5. Do not, I repeat, do not create a Facebook for your practice, and if you have a Facebook, lock it down with the most stringent privacy settings.

Attention must be paid to these young people entering the workforce and using our services.

Bonus tip: Want to understand the Millenial mindset and lifestyle?
1. Read the annual Beloit College Mindset List. Find out what the college class of 2018 is really like.
2. Read the Refinery 29 lifestyle blog for young women.
3. Read Thrillist to find out about the lifestyle of young men.

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