Yes, Millennials want constant feedback. We have only ourselves as parents to thank for this one.
So, let’s not get too down on our young employees for expecting to be told not only what the assignment is, but how well they are performing (receiving a trophy is always nice). Instead, we can perhaps learn from them to embrace feedback. Give feedback a big old hug and thank it for improved performance! As a manager, I try to work with my direct reports and co-workers to be very clear about my expectations and to give them real-time feedback on performance. This gives the opportunity to discuss a manager’s perspective of the performance and for workers to inform managers of what they may not be seeing. It is a lot easier to address issues as they surface versus waiting until the formal and, frankly, antiquated bi-annual performance review.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Outlines Plans To Step Down
Instead of using the traditional performance review process to evaluate past performance against performance on now possibly irrelevant goals, perhaps it is time to give real-time feedback and use shorter term goal setting? The ever-changing landscape of the work people need to do in order to drive business results requires an almost in-the-moment approach to goal setting and most definitely requires in-the-moment feedback.
Let’s also consider some other realities that should be forming our feedback process. Deloitte University Press published a 2014 article which reported that nearly 70% of all workers work in a service or knowledge-related job. Performance in these types of jobs is driven by customer interactions and the ability to innovate and drive change though teamwork which improves business operations and outcomes.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Investigating Multiple Overnight Gas Station Armed Robberies
Traditional employee performance reviews look back on the past 6 – 12 months of performance. So, an employee gets evaluated now based on what s/he did a year ago, which very well may be out of context under current circumstances. What about the innovations employees are working on now to solve current problems or to improve current net profits of the company? Waiting a whole 6 -12 months to be evaluated on these efforts can be frustrating for most employees but especially for young workers.
To this point, IBM is doing away with the traditional evaluation process. Instead, they crowd-sourced ideas from their employees and came up with a more flexible system. Employees wanted more frequent feedback on how they contribute to business results, impact on client success, innovation, personal responsibility to others, and skills. The full article from February 2016 can be found here. Now, I doubt that the majority of IBM’s approximately 380,000 employees are all Millennials, so this suggests that other generations in the workplace want more feedback, too.
So, why not take the Millennials up on their request for feedback on their current projects? Why not give all employees more real-time feedback? It is often difficult to give feedback because providing feedback is a skill. Many managers do not possess this skill, so giving feedback is uncomfortable. Maybe managers complain that Millennials need too much feedback not because it is true, but because the managers are uncomfortable having those discussions? But, just like any difficult conversation, it gets easier with time, training, and practice.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Some May See Even More Money From Potential Economic Relief Package
Dr. Nicole C. Scott, SPHR holds a Doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and is available for consulting engagements in HR/Talent/OD Strategy, Organizational Culture and/or Change Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via LinkedIn. Check it outwww.agile-edge.com!