Many of my Millennials’ friends are changing jobs right now and most of them are complaining about the same thing: they have been in their new company for one month and they haven’t received any performance feedback from their supervisors. Therefore, they are starting to feel insecure and to wonder if they are going to pass the probationary period…If you are Millennial, you are probably nodding right now and being empathetic with my friends. So, why is all of this happening?
On one hand, from the Millennial’s perspective, we live in the culture of the immediacy and that makes us be impatient, have a short attention span and seek ongoing progress in every aspect of life. As J.R. Dorsey states on his book 'Y-size your business', ‘we are hunger for instant gratification and tangible outcomes’. That is, we are completely outcome-driven and, for that reason, we need to know, the sooner the better, if we are on the right track. We don’t want to waste our time and yours doing the wrong thing!
On the other hand, many employers have defined Millennials as high-maintenance employees and one of the reasons is our need for constant feedback. These same employers are still anchored to the traditional view of performance management and, either identify it with an annual appraisal or consider that providing feedback to an employee implies giving a huge volume of detailed information. We are not asking for that!
So, how can we reconcile the above approaches? It is very simple! You, employers, can keep your sophisticated performance appraisal systems as long as you encourage your line managers to provide frequent and concise feedback to their employees. All we are asking for is a ten seconds check-in from our supervisors. And it doesn’t need to be face-to-face. You can do it as well by e-mail or text. A simple ‘good job’ through any of those channels could do!
I would like to illustrate the importance of this short messages for us with two different examples:
John is a Millennial who has been in the company X for one month and, even though he has received negative feedback because of some tiny mistakes he made in the first two weeks due to his lack of knowledge of the business, none of his supervisors has taken ten seconds of their time to tell him anything positive. They consider it’s better to elaborate an appropriate performance review document and share it with John at the end of his probationary period.
John’s impression: They may fire me. Nobody has told me anything positive in this first month… 🙁
Katie is a Millennial who has been in the company Y for one month. She is aware of the mistakes she is making but she is feeling confident because her peers have let her known it’s no big deal. Besides, the other day her supervisor came across her in the lobby and told her: Katie, you did a terrific job helping John the other day. Keep up the good work!
Katie’s impression: I’m doing just fine in this new company and I’m learning a lot! 🙂
Provided the above examples, don’t you really have ten seconds to spare to recognise your new joiners that they are on the right track?