Millennials – Hungry for Feedback

By Kevin Hughes

Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000, are growing up indulged in a world obsessed with instant gratification and constant feedback. It’s an expectation. Since childhood, they were given praise, appreciation and literal trophies from their parents, coaches, and teachers … just for showing up. In addition, technology has given them a sure-fire tool to research even the toughest questions in a matter of seconds. The idea of waiting is not in their vocabulary, and why should it be? The world and workplace are becoming so fast-paced that the need to wait is more of a distant relative than ever before. As a result, millennials expect feedback, and expect it regularly.

Most companies miss the mark when it comes to providing regular employee feedback. In fact, more than half of companies still rely on the excruciatingly long performance review meeting that happens once a quarter or even once a year. Research has shown that this is not effective for improving the performance of millennials, nor their retention for working at a company long-term. While all generations crave feedback, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the tech-savvy, hyper-connected millennial generation will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. It is fundamental that leaders and managers understand why feedback is so important. Without it, they may risk losing a valuable team member.

As a manager and leader in an organization, it is important to set clear expectations for when feedback moments will occur. We recommend providing it often and in short spurts. Schedule a monthly one-on-one with employees, promise a check-in at the end of every project or send a regular emails with constructive feedback. By being more aware of the generational shifts in the workplace and the importance of feedback opportunities, your millennial team members will be much more gratified. Who knows, they may even give you a trophy!

During these feedback moments, consider adjusting your communication delivery based on your team member’s unique WorkTraits styles.

Decision Maker: Their Core Motive is Authority

When giving feedback:

  • Be direct, factual and get to the point
  • After a job well done, allow them to demonstrate their knowledge to the team
  • After making a mistake, involve them in finding an alternative way of handling the situation

Encourager: Their Core Motive is Excitement

When giving feedback:

  • Let them share their recent work and personal experiences with you
  • After a job well done, share their accomplishments with the rest of the team
  • After making a mistake, let them discuss the reasons to why they made the decision

Facilitator: Their Core Motive is Harmony & Security

When giving feedback:

  • They need to hear what they did was helpful to a specific group of people
  • After a job well done, be sincere in saying they are a valuable asset to the team
  • After making a mistake, be sure to address it in a one-on-one setting

Trackers: Their Core Motive is Understanding

When giving feedback:

  • Ask open ended questions to give them the opportunity to share honestly
  • After a job well done, praise them not for just a single action, but for a particular thought process they used
  • After making a mistake, ask how you − as a manager and leader − can do a better job in communicating more clearly





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