Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are moving into a position of prominence in the workforce: According to the Pew Research Center, they became the largest share of the American workforce in 2015 — and the fields of healthcare and life sciences are no exception to this trend.
If this challenging and dynamic population isn’t already on your radar, it should be. Millennials, which are roughly defined as people born between the late 1970s and around the turn of the century, have some key hallmarks that shape how they acquire and absorb educational content and other information.
For one thing, they’re the first generation of digital natives. As such, millennials have notoriously short attention spans — they’re primed to absorb bombardment from snippets of information coming at them from every direction, but they can “check out” easily if a topic doesn’t hold their interest.
Growing up with Google at their fingertips, millennials have a looser view of authority and hierarchy than previous generations. They are knowledge-hungry and crave resources to acquire knowledge on their own, but they also value the advice of experts — provided that these authority figures first earn their trust.
A study on millennials in the workforce found that credibility and authenticity are incredibly important factors for engaging this generation. These are qualities that Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) need to emphasize if they want millennials to be receptive to their message.
More so than the Baby Boomers who preceded them, millennials want the companies they interact with to have a mission and purpose. They need a narrative that articulates not only the company’s value proposition, but their own unique role to play.
All of these quirks have profound implications for meeting and event organizers.
Despite the fact that AHM data finds virtual and tele-meetings combined made up just 15% of promotional speaker programs targeting healthcare professionals (HCPs) last year, this generation’s propensity for technology — not as a substitute, but a supplement — to in-person learning means organizers should think twice before abandoning the format. Millennials love having options, so the more touch points you can provide them with, the better; this is the generation, after all, that grew up with hundreds of options just for ordering a morning coffee.
The rise of venue-based meetings — up nearly 20 percentage points between 2014 and last year, AHM found — dovetails with another preference near and dear to millennial hearts: Collaboration. This is a population that loves to work in groups and pool knowledge. Surveys of millennial doctors found that these HCPs believe their peers to be a valuable educational resource — something to keep in mind when designing program content and even when targeting KOLs to reach a millennial audience.
The path to engagement with millennial HCPs may not be as straightforward as it was with their parents, but this generation’s eagerness to learn, willingness to embrace new technologies and openness to collaborative knowledge-seeking gives the industry the chance to build a deeper, more direct bond with this rising population of HCPs.
Susan Hill, SVP, Global Products & Solutions, AHM
Susan joined AHM in June of 2013 and is responsible for the oversight and management of AHM’s Global Business Development and Solutions and Marketing team. With over nineteen years of experience in the Life Science industry, Susan brings experience in business development, product marketing, and new technology investment and optimization.