Leaders of Millennials have an extraordinary power that lies sleeping inside of them. It’s the power to save time, and not only save time but doing so while productivity increases across an entire team. It’s not that this power is from days of old, reserved for few, but there are few who choose to grab hold of it and use it to their advantage.
Today, we are not satisfy unless we get instant results. Imagine using dial-up Internet (if you even know what that is). There’s no way the people of today would be patient long enough for a page to load. We’d certainly move on to something else. Millennials are even more notorious for their need of instant gratification. They can’t help it either. They were born into this digitally, hyper-responsive environment.
A person of Generation Y (also called a Millennial) will post a video on any given social media venue and expect immediate feedback. The same goes for posting statuses, retweeting, commenting, liking, poking, and anything else that can be done across the various platforms. Social Internet has Millennials yearning for responses that are consistent and given in minutes – seconds even. They are so entwined in this cycle that they expect the same response rate and behavior at their jobs. However, Millennials fail to understand that the digital world is the only place where feedback comes at such high speeds. Or is it?
Those of the Baby Boomer generation know they’re doing a good job when they have little to no contact with their supervisors. Millennials; however, when placed in the same scenario, will assume that they’re failing because their supervisors don’t pat them on the back all the time. It’s not either point of view is wrong or right. They’re just different.
You can probably imagine the objections I received from live audiences when I first mentioned this concept of consistent, instant feedback. “Ryan, I don’t really have the time to sit my work aside just to converse with Millennials.” And, I get it. Still, I’d venture to say that it’s not the time that’s limited. I believe the limits have more to do with the traditional workplace habits and change.
In a traditional setting, feedback is mostly reserved for performance reviews. This sparse feedback will land you with a high turnover rate, making you realize all too late that you should have worked more to provide your Millennials with more consistent, instant feedback.
Providing quick direction and correction for the Millennials will have them working harder than you thought possible. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day either. You can give Millennials the feedback they so desire in the same amount of time it takes to give a thumbs up, like on Facebook. For example: “Hey Ryan, you did a superb job on the XYZ project. Your attention to details adds a lot of value and our clients like that. Keep up the good work.” You’ve now released the happy on the Millennials day leading them to focus more and work even harder, and you did it all on your way to the break room to grab a snack. It literally took seconds.
Here’s a true story an audience member shared with me.
At the end of the day, sitting in his car before making the drive home, this leader would text his team of Millennials giving them positive direction and correct, if needed. He would be pleasantly surprised to learn that the same Millennials he messaged were working again later that night. This was all a result of a simple text message that took very little time to send. Talk about positive results faster than a click of the mouse… faster than a Facebook like!
Providing Millennials with consistent, instant feedback will increase productivity exponentially. You won’t have to push for them to work harder. They’ll gladly work harder because they’ve been recognized by their leader in a positive way. Millennials will actually like you for it. Rather than complain about needy Millennials, meet them where they are, give them the feedback they desire, and give your company a competitive edge.