Your Baby Boomers or Gen X employees may be comfortable with their once a quarter or even once a year review, however, if you want to motivate millennial workers, you'll want to offer feedback more often.
The Millennial generation is used to getting constant feedback from their parents and teachers. This need for outside validation doesn't stop when they enter the workforce. Receiving positive feedback can inspire your millennial workers to be more creative, more productive, and more satisfied at work. Can you imagine a rock star performing to a silent audience? Cheers and chanting are the fuel that inspires musicians to rock out on stage and you have the ability to do the same for your employees. But it's not just about cheerleading. Millennials have a strong desire for self-improvement and will thrive on opportunities to better themselves.
Not only do millennials require more feedback to excel at work, they also need it delivered slightly differently. Sometimes considered to be the most "sensitive" generation, millennials thrive on positive reinforcement more than negativity and punishment. Here are a few steps to provide your millennials with the feedback they crave.
While not technically considered "feedback," if your millennial employees don't know what's expected of them, they'll be confused and resentful when you tell them that they aren't living up to their responsibilities. Whether it's at the beginning of their employment, after a position change, or when you begin to implement your feedback system, you'll need to review their job responsibilities and expectations. Once they clearly understand what they should be doing, you can hold them accountable. SMART goal setting is the best way to outline and communicate your expectations.
No one wants to hear that nothing they do is good enough. However, older employees may be used to this type of feedback and may tolerate it better than a millennial. When talking to the younger generation, be sure to include what they are doing right, not just what needs improvement. Even when it's difficult to find the positive, remember that there are many facets to an employee's job performance. Maybe they aren't making their sales numbers but they have an excellent attitude that spreads throughout the office. Maybe they are late to work frequently, but once they get there, they work harder than everyone else. There's almost always something you can praise an employee for.
When you discuss intangible characteristics or behaviors like a "bad attitude," millennial employees may feel attacked. If you discuss specific, measurable behaviors that can be pinpointed and improved upon (like being late), they will have an easier time grasping the concept and being solution-focused.
Once you've outlined the behaviors that need to be corrected, it's time to offer support and education to correct them. Does your employee need more training? Do they need a mentor who will guide them on their journey? Millennials will be much more willing to accept corrective feedback when it comes with a way to correct it.
Possibly the most important aspect of providing feedback to millennials is providing it frequently. These don't have to be official sit down meetings with HR representatives and "permanent files." Sometimes a nod along with a "Great job on that last call," is enough to motivate a millennial to work even harder. Imagine an environment where employees were told daily how much they're appreciated. Now that is motivating!
You may see texts or social media messages as a distraction throughout the day, but to your millennial employees, it's just another way (and possibly their preferred way) to communicate. Shoot them a quick "thank you" or "good job" throughout the day. Even an emoji can brighten their day.
A need to improve, even if it's accompanied by a plan to improve, is nothing without a scheduled follow-up. By what date will you check in to make sure the issues have been resolved? Make it clear that they have a specific timeframe to work on improvements and provide the support they need to make them.
Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that a need for constant feedback isn't necessarily a bad thing. An employee that wants to improve and succeed is a great asset to any company. When you learn to communicate with your millennial workers, they'll reward you with rock star results.
"The more you learn about everything, the easier it is to do it." Dolly Parton
Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.