Leading Millennials in the Life Sciences

Group of young business people smiling

Group of young business people smilingJim RudmanBy Jim Rudman, CEO, Ashton Tweed

See this article on LinkedIn.


Although there is a lot of talk about this topic, millennials aren’t some big dreaded challenge to the established workforce. In fact, they bring a lot of positive qualities to the professional world, especially to the life sciences industry where we are always looking for innovative young minds. This generation is more familiar with tech and has the potential to make enormous breakthroughs in all industries. However, these individuals do possess some new and distinctive qualities that should be understood before hiring them at your life sciences company. Understanding their perspective will not only help managers lead them, but will also help make the millennials more productive employees.


Millennials crave passion and excitement.

Fortunately, the life sciences industry is innately passionate and exciting. As an industry, we are solving world health problems and making the lives of doctors and patients more manageable, what more could a millennial want? The adventurous atmosphere of start-ups, innovative research, and striving for cures is exactly what they are looking for. However, it’s not easy to maintain this fiery passion in the workplace every day. Make an effort to remind your employees of your joint values and goals in the workplace. Whether this is through inspirational posters, hosting or attending events related to your cause, or simply bringing it up verbally in a meeting.


Millennials want to know their purpose.

Millennials want to know why they are doing what they are doing. It’s important to show them the company’s bigger picture when assigning them tasks or projects. Millennials are interested in what’s happening in the higher ranks and they want to be informed, so tell them how decision are made. This clear purpose will give them clarity and motivation in their work. Sharing this information may also provoke them to share their own suggestions or ideas, which could prove to be beneficial.


Millennials want to see their impact.

For millennials, it’s not all about money or climbing the ladder. In addition to wanting to know their purpose, they want to feel impactful and see how they’re making a real and visible contribution to the company’s mission. They don’t want to feel like they’re spinning their wheels on meaningless work. Although millennials are fans of new office perks like flexible schedules, remote working, and liberal hierarchies, it doesn’t mean they are lazy. In fact, it means they want to be empowered by what they do. As a manager, you should take on the responsibility of empowering your employees and see where that power takes them.


Millennials like collaboration and feedback.

Millennials want to brainstorm their own ideas, make a plan, and run with it. However, this doesn’t mean they want to be alone in the process. Millennials want to get feedback on their work so that they can implement that feedback into their project. They function better by repeating this process throughout a project in order to work independently but with checkpoints. So make time to check in and give feedback to your employees – and praise if warranted – to keep them on track and motivated. This will also provoke in them a respect for your and your authority, but more in the way of an approachable coach than an unapproachable boss.


Yes, this might be a big change in your management approach as an experienced leader, but it could prove to be an overwhelmingly positive one. Just as millennials have a lot to learn when entering the workforce, so do we. Our learning never stops. In an ever-changing and fast-paced industry like the life sciences, it is advantageous to be flexible and open to new ideas. Looking for new leadership talent for your team? Contact Ashton Tweed today.

Share your insights! Contact jamesrudman@ashtontweed.com to contribute your life sciences article as a guest writer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *