Generational Diversity: Consider Generational Motivations [Interview][Transcript]

Christopher_Martorella_Generational_Diversity_healthcare_professionalsGuest: Christopher Martorella
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Christopher Martorella is a skilled healthcare leader with more than 30 years of experience in nursing leadership, clinical operations, and patient services. Christopher has served as a consultant and project manager for a range of engagements for nursing leaders.

Segment overview: Christopher Martorella, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, talks about what motivates and deflates the multiple generational groups, and how to guide healthcare professionals onto a path of harmonious generational diversity in the workplace.


Health Professional Radio – Generational Diversity

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio today is returning and has studied the generational diversity issue in depth and he’s here to describe how the various generations can effectively and positively work side by side in health care. Our guest is Mr. Christopher Martorella, MSN, Registered Nurse, NEA-BC. How are you this afternoon Chris?

Christopher Martorella: I’m doing great Neal. How about yourself?

N: I’m doing well, thank you so much for returning. We’re here in another segment, you explained to our listeners what generational diversity was. We were talking about different types of diversity and although our, most of our listeners are health care professionals themselves, let’s talk about a definition, a good solid definition of generational diversity.

C: Sure. Generational diversity is the diversity that sprouted out in any kind of a situation when you have different generations are working together. So anytime you have a group of workers, as you have a good cross section, you may have people from veterans, the boomers, the X-ers or the Millennials.

N: As a person who’s hired and dismissed people over the years throughout your career, what types of challenges are there when you’re recruiting someone who may have been at a health care institution for 20 years and now they’re maybe 40, maybe 50, 55 years old in they’re coming to a new place where many of the nurses and health care professionals are maybe 20 years younger than them? How do you explain to a person that this is the environment that they’re coming into and assure them that they’re gonna be supported?

C: That’s a great question. The first that you have to do as a good leader would be not to assume that the person’s going to enter that workforce and not have any issues. I think that a good leader would have a sense of the composition of their workforce. Again, understanding what the generational composition is and then determining how would you then work someone new into that situation because again if they are, someone’s coming in and they are in their 50s and they’re coming into a workforce with all 20 something let’s say, they’re not gonna…share the same world views, they’re not gonna have had the same music to growing up, the same defining world events that occurred and so they’re going to be looking at the work a little bit differently. But for instance, the example that you gave is a great one because 50 year old is probably in the baby boomer generation or getting close to it and they definitely have different ideas about what kinds of things motivate them, what are the kind of work that they enjoy doing, what kinds of things are going to retain them in the workplace. So I think about for instance my mom and dad who are now in their 70s so they are retired but they came from a generation where…work for a company and you stay there for 30 years and both got a gold watch when you retire and that was what the expectation was. Nowadays people getting out of the, out of, they’re coming into the workforce that is nowhere near an expectation for anyone. They young folks even mid-career folks who have had a world view where they witness downsizing and particularly that certainly been an issue in health care, right in…They came from last few family situations where mom and dad was not the traditional household. There was a lot of single families so these children were perhaps waste by television instead of by two parents. So they have experienced and have undergone different things than other people in their generation. So we do see these clients has different world views played out even when I was a…nurse I can still remember having the utmost respect for my shift supervisor and she came out and said “Mr. Martorella we need somebody to work a double tonight…” it wasn’t “Well let me think about that” it was “Yes Ma’am. I’d be happy to do that”. Nowadays you may…younger folks and maybe some of us older folks have learned something from the other folks and say “Wait a minute, I have something to do this afternoon. I want work-life balance.” That’s what we getting a lot from the gen X-ers and the gen Ys is that they recognized that they’re working to live not living to work as a lot of our forefathers have done. And so of course that presents new challenges for the manager of today, right? The manager of all, if they need somebody to work overtime, they just…somebody. Now we’re in health care working on a various pieces of legislations keep coming up not allowing mandatory overtime and other kinds of things like that because their powers have become abused and people don’t want to work sixty hours a week, they want to do their 40 hours or wanna go on and they wanna enjoy their families or enjoy their life.

N: Have you noticed that there is a difference in I guess acceptance of the new generationally diverse workforce by either men or women or is the acceptance and I guess the integration into those situations pretty even across the board? Because even among men and women the experiences are so far left and right coming through the generations that surely there are some clashes and some fires that need to be put out.

C: Yeah, that’s a really interesting point is one that I would think, I’m not sure what it might be in the literature in terms of that but I would think just off the top that women may have more of understanding of generational diversity perhaps because they have been one of the groups that has been left behind historically, has fought for equality in the workplace. Certainly have different things going on in their lives vis-à-vis the older ones expect them, give us children so sometimes they leave the workforce and face some discriminations of their own when they try to return and now they have lost seniority or they’re not seen as perhaps seen as serious about work because they’re taking time off for family. So I think it would be something, I would guess, my hypothesis would be that females would see generational diversity perhaps a little bit different than males might.

N: In your opinion, why haven’t hospitals been more interested in generational diversity? My mother retired as a nurse and she had a group of friends that ran the gamut of aged groups. Why haven’t hospitals historically been interested in generational diversity or were they and just calling it something else?

C: I think that if they begin to understand that it is a business imperative to make sure that the generations that they’re recruiting for, the workers that they are buying for, if they see that as important then they will invest in some understanding of generation diversity and how that works against them. I think for a lot of us we hope it’s a problem that they be, if we just put our head in…it will go away, but it’s not going to go away because the ones going to change their age and that these folks will continue to have four generations in the workplace. So I think that for those hospitals that recognized that people are their most important asset and recognizing that we’re going to be recruiting various generations, if they see that business important then it becomes very clear that we got to have a workforce that gets along, that collaborates, that cooperates and then we can, we begin to see folks bringing in experts to help them uphold that together.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio talking with Christopher Martorella, Chris has served as a Consultant and Project Manager for a wide range of engagements including Nursing and other clinical departmental operation assessments, mock accreditation surveys and accreditation recovery, Workforce Efficiency and Strategy engagements and so much more. It’s been great having you here with us today Christopher.

C: Thank you Neal, it’s great to be here.

N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

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