Best Practices for Generational Recruiting in the Physical Therapy Industry

A typical physical therapy practice may feature all four generations currently in the workforce: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. As leaders, that means you’re wrestling with a diverse set of attention spans, motivations, skill sets and learning styles, among other things. And before you can even lead them, you have to attract them to your practice. 

Every employee is unique, but generational gaps can widen the difference in life goals and priorities. So much so that it should be carefully considered across your recruiting process.

How to Recruit Generational Talent for Your Private Practice

We’ve researched the recruiting strategies and best practices for each generation and highlighted what matters most when it comes to work, company culture and benefits:

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers lived through 60s counterculture, civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. They were approaching their 40s when personal computers entered the game. 

This generation is not as swayed by a thriving company culture and instead wants to understand what daily duties are expected and the role they will play in contributing to your clinic. Win them over with your “WHY” and show them how they can make the practice successful. Offer stability, healthcare and flexible working hours to convince them to finish their working years with you.

Generation X

Gen X employees were born between 1965 and 1980. They were the first to have access to personal computers in early adulthood. Considered the “middle child” generation due to their smaller size, they grew up with little adult supervision during a shaky economy and learned to be resourceful and independent early on.

For those reasons, Generation X candidates still have time to jump jobs if needed, but prefer growth opportunities with a path to promotion as well as mentorship and professional development. Highlight your work-life balance for these job seekers as they may be torn between caring for aging parents or older children. They are looking for a strong benefits package that helps with healthcare, dental, retirement, life insurance and more.


Millennials are the biggest generation born between 1981 and 1996. The internet happened on their watch and they went from setting up an AOL account to ordering products and paying bills online within 10 years. Considered “overprotected” and raised by Gen X’s “helicopter parents,” this generation was raised with confidence and a team-oriented attitude with a pressure to excel. 

For those reasons, you should lead with company culture and the mission and ethics driving your business. Since Millennials were the first to take a short term approach to employment and aren’t scared to move on if they no longer believe in or trust your leadership, it’s important to promote the company, not just the role. Highlight the social connection and strong internal culture that includes benefits, work-life balance and flexibility. You’ll attract this generation by showing you’re a tech-forward clinic that will build up their skills and network.

Generation Z

Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z are “digital natives” who have had internet access their entire lives. They’ve grown up in a world filled with uncertainty (terrorism, recessions, climate change, social issues) but have shown that they are ready to tackle issues head-on and champion change in environments where their values are challenged.  

When recruiting Gen Z, ethics, mission and values should be addressed out of the gate. They want to contribute to the overall mission of the clinic and value mentorship and learning opportunities to get it done. While healthcare and retirement benefits are great, they also value the perks of access to digital environments and flexibility. Consider tuition reimbursement and areas of the business they can “control” (ie. social media, patient experience, etc.) as incentives for this generation. They are surprisingly less impressed with company culture as much as being treated as an equal in the workforce.

Elevate Your Personnel Management with MEG Academy

Good news: MEG’s learning management system for physical therapy has an entire program dedicated to personnel management, including recruiting, hiring, leading and retaining. Learn all the ways you can put the right people in the right seats and keep them there as you grow your business and join the top 10% of private practices. 

Visit MEG Academy today!

MEG Academy programs for Physical Therapy

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