Adapting employee feedback to the millennial generation
Since 2015, millennials have become the largest group in the U.S. workforce, and the European labour market tells a similar story. By 2020 this demographic will account for 43% of employees, whilst moving into increasingly senior roles. The millennials have a grown up in a time of change, a transition from the analog to the digital age, and as such, have the experience, knowledge and outlook to potentially become history’s most productive generation. And as they start to dominate several markets as customers, their intuition, as part of the workforce, will become invaluable in developing products and services.
However, in order to reach this point, corporations need to provide the right mix of motivation and leadership, an area where many seem to struggle. According to Gallup’s research, less than 1/3 of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. Of note, 60% of millennial employees admit they are open to changing jobs, whilst only 1/2 of the millennials surveyed planned to stay in their companies 12 months from now. Comparable research from Deloitte found that 2/3 of the millennial workforce expected to have switched jobs by 2020. The question is: how are companies recruiting, and more importantly retaining, their millennial employees?
Managing millennial employees in the workforce
With notable value, how can one go about engaging, understanding and retaining the skillset of millennial employees? Research shows that they hold variety and new experiences in high regard, and as such, providing an ever challenging environment, with ample opportunities to develop, is a must. One important aspect of development is provision of two-way feedback; millennials want to know how they are performing and, likewise, how their managers and colleagues are performing also. In contrast to previous generations, they want to see this at a higher frequency. As such, managing the millennials means consistently giving feedback; that of constructive criticism as well as praise.
Millennials want to be heard – this is a key component in seeing them thrive in the workplace. As such, traditional forms of employee engagement and performance monitoring, like annual surveys and performance reviews, just aren’t sufficient for their needs. Different methods are required. As Gallup’s research suggests, 1/2 of the workforce will have moved on before the next annual review has been complied, so what value does it actually hold?
Use new feedback models to better understand millennials
Millennials require new types and timescales of employee engagement. Annual reviews are no longer sufficient. Consequently, more and more enterprises are switching to ‘frequent feedback’
models, with weekly 1-to-1’s with managers. Nevertheless, whilst the majority of businesses understand the need for millennial engagement, and the fact that they need to change accordingly, many don’t know how to achieve this. Companies often fear that significantly altering the way they collect and react to feedback will prove time consuming, costly and complicated. This, however, is not the case. Oftentimes, it is quite the opposite. Modern feedback solutions can provide one centralised platform, with the ability to provide feedback on both an annual or frequent basis. They can compile all types of feedback, integrate information and make it available to the whole company in real-time. This not only lower costs in the longterm, but it also helps to better understand the millennial workforce as well as listening to everyone all the time.
The millennial workforce is increasingly important to enterprises. Ensuring that companies’ feedback processes are able to let them effectively listen, create a dialogue and act on millennials’ needs is paramount in retaining their skills moving into the future.
Author: Míša Benešovská
I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, mainly covering IT industry. I’ve been fascinated by it for nearly a quarter of a century (or since I dismantled my first computer). I worked for Seznam.cz, Unicorn Systems or Mafra publisher. In my spare time, I love game consoles and keep perfecting a recipe for the best pumpkin risotto in the world.
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