I attended an industry event recently where a panel of students presented a session on the next generation of healthcare design and construction, an opportunity to hear the perspectives of those who will be charged with leading this industry in years to come and their ideas on how to do it. The room was packed.

I’m sure many of the professionals there were drawn to the idea of hearing some new takes on old problems, but I’m also sure at least a couple were intrigued by the idea of finding a new hire.
Who can blame them? It’s a constant need. As a Gen Xer, I can easily grow tired of the attention paid to millennials, but even I can’t argue the numbers. Someone must replace retiring baby boomers in every single industry out there, and there aren’t enough of us between age 35 and 50 (give or take) to get the job done.

The topic came up again recently when I was in Nashville for the first of three Healthcare Design CitySCENE networking events being held this year. Prior to the event, our friends at ESa kindly opened the doors to their stunning new office in the trendy Gulch district where we hosted an exclusive roundtable with our CitySCENE sponsors and a select group of industry professionals. The focus was the evolution of the project team, and high on our list of issues to cover was not only attracting millennials to healthcare design but engaging them and retaining them.

And we didn’t have to look far for solutions. ESa built their office around supporting collaboration, mentoring, work-life balance, and giving back to the community—and a very engaged, very dedicated, and very bright young designer gushed all about it at our CitySCENE networking event that evening. It sounds like it’s working, to me.

As I chatted with another attendee, he described similar efforts at his company, noting that talent acquisition efforts weren’t about identifying and implementing a strategy but about creating a culture that attracts young professionals and keeps them there. That’s the thing, though—culture is a strategy. Just read what HDR’s Hank Adams had to say about his firm’s recruitment and retention efforts in our special report on healthcare design business challenges and solutions, “Inside Story.”

At Healthcare Design, we hope to be part of the solution, too. That’s what CitySCENE is all about: connecting newcomers to the industry with seasoned veterans in a casual atmosphere where knowledge and maybe a few business cards can be exchanged. For more, visit HCDmagazine.com/city-scene. I hope to see you at one soon.