Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Guide for Managing Millennials - Performance Feedback

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Guide for Managing Millennials - Delegation

My last blog post on Helicopter Parents in the Workplace ignited a firestorm of feedback about the Millennial generation and the difficulty of recruiting and managing this demographic. If your company depends on Millennials for its future success in maintaining and increasing market share, then you may need concrete tactics for managing and communicating with them.

This next series of posts will focus on providing those tactics to support you in your goals and to ease management's pain. It will cover Delegation (here), Performance Feedback, and Decision Making.

We'll start first with tips for delegating effectively to Millennials.

A common complaint of managers is that Millennials do not follow through on projects assigned or do not complete tasks to satisfaction. When delegating to Millennials follow these rules:
  • Connect the dots between task and mission by explaining the importance of the project to the organization
  • Define the job enrichment opportunities involved in the project 
  • Be specific in the results you expect and provide step-by-step instructions for achieving these results 
  • Communicate your expected timeframe for completing the project and consequences to not getting it done on time
  • Mentor on potential roadblocks and how to get around them  
  • Build in frequent check-ins via 10-minute meetings or text messages to reinforce expectations and answer questions as they arise
These tips may seem like extra work to the Generation X and Baby Boomer bosses of Millennials, but I guarantee their success in increasing productivity and eliminating "re-do's" on the back end. Give it a try, and if you are still struggling reach out for help.

Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, 
Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy