Millennials love feedback – they like it frequently, directly, and immediately.
Feedback is something Millennials have grown up with, receiving almost constant advice and input from their parents, teachers, and friends.
Millennials grew up with information and knowledge at their fingertips, connecting to experts through their blogs, learning from thought-leaders through TED.com, and taking charge of their education and skills development with tools like Khan Academy and Lynda.com.
If they don’t know how to do something, they know how to find someone who does, and they know how to learn from them.
It’s this combination of constant feedback and access to information that makes mentors so important to Millennials.
Millennials need to hear how they can improve. And they need to hear it frequently.
Boomers are fine with monthly, quarterly, or even yearly feedback. GenXers don’t care if you ever give them feedback (since they were raised in a more hands-off, latch-key-type approach, they are more independent overall). Millennials sit at the other end of the spectrum – needing at least daily feedback on steps they can take to improve and add value.
It’s this need for regular, almost constant feedback, plus their love of learning that makes mentoring or shadowing a perfect solution for growing Millennials’ skills and talents.
“I was so impressed with Ankur’s (an incoming AMEND analyst) drive for improvement and betterment. He wasn’t even on our radar screen until he put himself there. He met us, then sent us 10 ideas for immediately improving our marketing. He took the initiative to follow through on a daily practice he picked up from one of his mentors – to think about at least 10 ideas for improvement every day. He has been doing this, writing down at least 10 ideas for improvement every day for a long time. Even if he only follows through on one idea each month, he will improve more than most people who aren’t even thinking this way. It’s this thinking, this drive for continual improvement, that will make him a great fit here at AMEND.
Paul Delaney, Director of Talent
Can’t match up all your Millennials with a mentor? Here are two things to keep in mind when giving feedback to your Millennial team members:
1) Give CLEAR feedback so there’s no misunderstanding. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative so long as it’s clear and specific around how they can improve. Tell them what they did, WHY it doesn’t work or fit, and ways they can do it better next time. Also encourage them to think about ways they can improve, and ways you and the company can improve. What can be done differently? What can we change on the company level to make things better?
2) Connect it to the purpose or mission of the work or company. Millennials need to know their work is valuable and impactful. Connect what they do, or what you want them not to do, to the mission or purpose of the work or company. Connecting the changes you want to a higher purpose will help your Millennial team members see how and why the changes you want are important.
Millennials are open to feedback, willing to change, and eager to learn. Give them what they need in these areas and you will be amazed at the impact they can have at your company.