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How to give Millennials the feedback they want


Many thanks to Mark Sanborn for posting a guest blog I wrote. Here’s an excerpt:

“Is feedback really as important to Millennials as we’ve heard?” The accounting senior manager asked me in a workshop I was giving on best work practices for each generation.

Yes, I told them. Millennials’ expectations are different from the older generations’. Millennials grew up with highly involved parents coaching them, instant access online to grades, and thousands of texts with their friends. Mentoring programs are one of the top two soft benefits Millennials look for at an organization. Less than one in ten Millennials think weekly communication is enough. In fact, 35 percent want it multiple times a day, while 25 percent think once a day is fine….

One of the biggest challenges to feedback is that we’re making it too difficult. You can give more feedback without adding another two hours to your day if you make it better and shorter but more frequent.

Better. Ask your team members what kind of feedback they want to receive. They know their own preferences and can keep you from wasting time on feedback that isn’t as helpful to them.

Shorter. Those of us who have been trained through years of annual performance appraisal processes see feedback as a more formal, lengthy, often emotionally-charged interaction, so we think we don’t have time or energy to double our feedback. And we don’t. Thank goodness less formal, shorter feedback is better. Boomers talk too much. Millennials and many Xers don’t want the long stories.

More frequent. Think Twitter — how would you say it in 140 characters or less? E-mail your team members (or text them) short, pointed feedback more often. (Or you could just tell them, but that’s so old school.)….

Read the full blog here.

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