In response to recent requests, I am providing a 3-part series of tactical guides for Generation Xers and Baby Boomers who manage Millennials and whose companies are dependent on Millennial employees for their future success and market share. The first in the series offered concrete tips for Delegating to Millennials. This one covers Performance Feedback. The last in the series will address Decision Making.
So how do you give effective performance feedback to Millennials?
Growing up, Millennials experienced educational and parental systems rich in praise and limited in critical feedback. To stay motivated in the workplace, they need frequent encouragement and acknowledgement. In contrast to the direct, results-focused feedback preferred by Generation X, Millennials respond most effectively to performance comments if you do the following:
- Acknowledge them for their work and significance to the overall project and company
- Assume a coaching role when providing critical feedback by directing them to behavior or tasks that will best position them for success in the company
- Align performance remarks with their career goals - If you don't know what their career goals are, ask!
- Be transparent about the company's promotional track and what specific skills and experiences will help them reach the next level
- Create opportunities for short, daily feedback sessions in person or via text message to outline expectations and provide ongoing support and encouragement
Even as adults, Millennials continue to be coached by highly involved parents encouraging them to set and achieve goals. They look to their managers to play similar roles. These guidelines will motivate your top Millennial talent and correct the behavior of your poor performers. If you are still struggling reach out for help.
Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy