Effective, Meaningful, Interpersonal Feedback – Not the Hendrix kind

Posted On January 17, 2017

Want to keep your millennial employees happy? The first step might be one that’s rather easy to accomplish, but also easy to overlook: Talk to them.

Feedback is important – and not just formal annual or biannual reviews. Not just a cold calculation of production metrics. Not a written evaluation for their file. And for goodness sake, not a challenge to justify their existence like the Bobs in Office Space“What would you say you do here?”

About 40 percent of millennial respondents in a recent survey conducted by Clutch, a Washington D.C.-based B2B research firm, did not find their jobs fulfilling, a higher percentage than their Generation X or Baby Boomer counterparts. Thirty-two percent of the millennials surveyed said they’re likely to leave their job in the next six months, a significantly higher number than Gen-X or Baby Boomers.

Now, some of this is understandable and likely attributable to the stage of life millennials are in as compared to their older colleagues. They’re just getting started in their careers, so they may not have attained a level of accomplishment or status that brings the fulfillment they seek. And millennials also may not have children, mortgages and other responsibilities that make leaving a job more difficult – not to mention the years of seniority built up within the company that Gen-Xers or Baby Boomers may enjoy.

Clutch, however, makes the correlation between fulfillment and feedback, noting that 72 percent of millennials who say they get consistent and accurate feedback from their managers find fulfillment in their work, compared to only 38 percent who don’t get that feedback.

But only 23 percent of the millennials surveyed said they got the kind of informal or ad-hoc feedback that experts say is more effective than more formal methods. And another 23 percent said they got no regular feedback at all.

Is this just millennials being whiny, as the stereotype would have us believe? More data from the Clutch survey appears to dispel that assertion: The numbers of millennial respondents who judged their managers as providing consistent, accurate evaluation of their performance was not markedly different than Gen-X or Baby Boomer employees.

The takeaway: Feedback isn’t just the sound that came from Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. Millennials want to know where they stand. If you don’t tell them – and tell them in a personable, effective way – they may go looking for some other employer who will.

Categories: Generation Y / Millennials, Workplace