Zapping the Gap: Four Generations, One Office

Veterinary clinics and other small business owners today face a unique employee challenge: Four generations working side by side, said Meagan Johnson, a featured speaker during the AAHA! Denver 2007 yearly conference this week.

About 1,200 veterinary professionals attended the lunch session, which was sponsored by Hill’s. Johnson provided details on generational differences and highlighted the fact that frustrations faced by today’s veterinary owners are not new. After asking the audience to list adjectives to describe the younger “millennium” generation – and getting descriptors like entitled, unmotivated, different, and self-absorbed – she displayed her list with similar adjectives taken from a Life Magazine published in 1968.

The message: generational issues span the gamut of ages and decades.

For Lynn Ferguson, DVM, the topic was timely. With employees who span the gamut of ages from 17 to 63, Ferguson said he walked away with some specific things he will do differently. “I know that I need to give more specifics” with to-do lists, he said. “That’s the opposite of my generation. I wanted to be entrusted to do things” without too much detailed instruction.

Bob Merrill, DVM, said he thought the presentation was insightful and intends to change things in his practice as a result of the speaker’s advice on younger generations.