Millennials currently make up more than a third of the global workforce, and that number is rising quickly. By 2020, one out of every two workers will be a Millennial. While this is good news for the world that needs innovation and technological savvy – two areas in which Millennials excel – it can be difficult news for companies who don’t know how to manage this new generation of workers effectively.
In fact, many of the management techniques that worked so well with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, don’t work with Millennial employees. This applies especially to the performance review. The performance review as practiced by most companies is failing Millennials for five main reasons:
1. It’s infrequent. Millennial workers crave constant feedback. While older generations may have been fine with an annual review, Millennials want to know how they’re doing on a continual basis. Frequent feedback enables them to keep tabs on their careers, making adjustments as needed to get them where they want to go.
2. It’s impersonal. Millennial workers have ambition, and they set high expectations for themselves. Unless their performance reviews address their individual strengths and discuss how their current position and performance will affect their personal goals, the feedback won’t feel relevant.
3. It lacks a career path. Unlike Baby Boomer workers, Millennial workers are highly mobile in their careers. They don’t expect stability, and they don’t want it. Instead, they want managers and feedback that help prepare them for new challenges, positions, and roles – preferably ones they can jump into quickly.
4. It’s unconnected to training. Millennial workers expect rapid progression in their careers, and they value learning from mentors. If their review doesn’t include avenues for growth and ways to improve their performance, they’re going to feel short-changed.
5. It doesn’t bring the right kind of value. Millennial workers are less motivated by traditional incentives than previous generations, and many would prefer more flexibility and a better work/life balance than conventional rewards. A review – and company – that doesn’t take their personal preferences for encouragement and praise into account won’t satisfy or motivate them.
Companies who want to increase Millennial engagement and reap the vast benefits these workers can bring to their organization may need to reconsider the way they currently assess and review employees. A systematic competency-based approach that blends performance, employee aspirations and career development may be the answer.