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Top Mistakes Managers Make Giving Feedback to Millennials

By Michael Heller Performance Feedback

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The number of Millennials growing in the workforce is steadily increasing. In fact, by 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers globally (yes, GLOBALLY) will be Millennials. How do you start giving feedback and communicating with this new generation of workers? There’s a lot of mistakes one can make when dealing with the Millennial workforce, so we’ve mapped out 5 of the biggest to watch for… and how to correct them.

Stop your mistakes in their tracks and use this 3 step guide to give Millennials the feedback they need:

3 Step Millennial Worksheet

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Mistake #1: Failing to inform Millennials on the goals of your company

Employees want to know what’s going on with the company, so that they can better understand how their work plays a part in the grand scheme of things and Millennials are no exception. In order to understand how their work matters, they need to know the direction and goals of their team, department and company. Whether you include goals in a daily stand up, a quarterly newsletter or use goal tracking software the entire company can see, you need to give them a heads up!

Millennials want to feel like they are part of a community at work—nearly 9 in 10 want a workplace to be social and fun—and have a genuine desire to listen into organizational strategy sessions. Instead of being a small cog unaware of any larger mission, millennials like being in the loop regarding their company’s vision, and how it is going to innovate to stay ahead of the curve.”- Dan Schawbel, Writer, TIME

Neglecting your employees of your company goals is taking away from performance. Do this instead: Click To Tweet

Correction #1: Create a list of tangible goals your workforce can help solve and give specific examples of what success looks like. Not sure what they are capable of? Ask and include them in the process!

Mistake #2: Focusing too hard on either the positives or the negatives.

Millennials want to know how they are doing, but leaning too far on either the positive aspects or negative aspects of a performance review can be overly discouraging, or overly encouraging and lead to stagnant growth. Instead, focus on where you want the employee to move within the company and start coaching them toward that.

“Instead of being too positive or negative — which can result in the employee not believing what you say — think about the impact on the employee you want, and communicate your feedback accordingly.”- Anna Johnson, Writer, Business Know How

Are you guilty of these top mistakes managers make? Click To Tweet

Correction #2: Find a role-specific middle ground, highlight both positive and negative points the Millennial needs to focus on. Let your Millennial in on the plan by being clear and consistent.

Mistake #3: Not Giving enough feedback.

Performance reviews can be stressful for everyone involved. So why not do something as simple as incorporating a shorter, less formal feedback session? In a recent study conducted by Deloitte, researchers found that 58% of executives surveyed believe their current performance process does not drive employee engagement and high performance.

“If you want people to talk about how to do their best work in the near future, they need to talk often. And so far we have found in our testing a direct and measurable correlation between the frequency of these conversations and the engagement of team members. Very frequent check-ins (we might say radically frequent check-ins) are a team leader’s killer app.” – James Harter, Writer, Harvard Business Review.

Don't let feedback be one of those 'get to it when you can' tasks. Schedule it now. Here's why: Click To Tweet

Correction #3: Schedule more frequent feedback conversations with specific and measurable goals to leave the employee feeling refreshed and excited about upcoming projects.

Mistake #4: Dishing out feedback, with little direction.

Prepping for any meeting with an employee (whether the meeting is super formal or not) is essential for the meeting’s well-being (and worth.) If you have a specific skill for the employee to work on, have a plan (with a timeline!) in place for them to do so.

“Because performance reviews are often seen as a boring, bureaucratic exercise, many managers spend little to no time preparing. Unfortunately, lack of preparation diminishes the value of the review with the employee.”- Lisa Quast, Contributor, Forbes

Correction #4: Take the steps to properly prepare for each feedback session or full blown performance review:

  • Set a reminder in Google Calendar to alert you before your scheduled meeting with an employee.
  • Jot down some notes about key topics you wish to discuss (make sure you have both positive and negative points in the mix.)
  • Email the employee you’re meeting with ahead of time so they aren’t caught off guard (especially if it is just a quick feedback session.)

Mistake #5: Taking over the entire conversation.

Make sure you don’t take complete control over the feedback session/performance review. Remember improvement is a two-way street. There is great value in gathering information from the employee as to why or why not a specific project worked. This can help you further conduct future projects best suited to the employee and his or her strengths.

“A key objective of the performance appraisal is to agree on goals for the following year. How can there be true agreement and commitment to such goals, if you don’t learn the employee’s point of view?”– Anna Johnson, Writer, Business Know-How.

Before setting goals, look at the goals from your employee's point of view. Click To Tweet Correction #5: Be conscious of how much you’re talking vs. how much your employee/millennial is talking. Try to make it as even as possible.

Test your skills! The next time you have a continuous performance feedback session or performance review with a millennial, consider these 5 top mistakes managers make with Millennials and course correct quickly. After all, while these performance management tips work great with Millennials, they will work with your entire workforce. After all, what performance management process couldn’t use a fresh take?

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Posted By Michael Heller

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