Adapt Your Performance Reviews to Better Manage Millennials

July 22, 2018

Four ways to improve your process for younger workers

Millennials aren’t afraid of criticism. In fact, they welcome feedback in the workplace—and lots of it. Studies show that despite being well-educated and confident, Millennials crave transparency and frequent, constructive feedback from managers.

A survey released by TriNet and Wakefield Research found 69% of Millennial workers think the performance review process needs a facelift. Roughly 62% said they feel “blindsided” by performance reviews and 74% said they often feel “in the dark” about how their managers and peers think they’re performing at work. That’s why more companies are adding continuous feedback into their performance review processes.

 

Why Millennials want more from performance reviews

The annual performance review process is failing Millennials in many ways. First, Millennials are accustomed to real-time feedback and expect constant connectivity. They’re eager to learn and want to know what they can improve today. The traditional annual performance review process doesn’t satisfy any of those needs because it’s a retroactive look at what happened in the past.

Additionally, annual performance reviews often lack connection to the employee’s desired career path, training recommendations, or growth opportunities. By moving to a continuous feedback model, managers provide that all-important guidance Millennials want and need to thrive in the workplace.

 

Making performance reviews more useful

Many employees “feel the traditional review process is biased, which can set the stage for resentment between employees and managers, regardless of what the feedback is.” That’s why several big companies like Accenture and Gap tossed annual reviews in favor of continuous feedback. For example, Adobe is now using bi-monthly check-ins to make employee performance conversations ongoing. This also allows employees to become more familiar with their manager’s expectations and tackle any concerns or make improvements in real time.

 

Four ways you can improve your performance review process

Don’t wait to provide feedback to your employees. Once a year is not enough to keep your workforce engaged and productive, much less address issues or make improvements. If your company wants to attract and retain Millennial talent, it’s important to make these changes now to your performance review process:

  1. Provide regular feedback. Doing this allows Millennial employees an opportunity to absorb positive and negative feedback and make necessary adjustments on the fly. When feedback is provided more frequently, the conversation between manager and employee can be more fluid and honest. And when it’s on the spot, it can be less intimidating than waiting for a big meeting to hash it out.
  2. Be approachable. Trust is important to your employees, especially Millennials. Managers should be accessible and encourage an open dialogue. When presenting feedback for improvement, empower that employee to be part of the process and brainstorm solutions together.
  3. Focus on facts. Remember, the intent and quality of your feedback is more important than frequency. Stick to the facts and be specific when offering criticism; never focus on your feelings or impressions. Act like a coach and mentor and reaffirm that you’re both on the same team.
  4. Give ample praise and recognition. According to Training Magazine, it’s in our nature to desire acknowledgement for our achievements—and Millennials are no exception. In fact, they want to be recognized and rewarded at least once per month.

Use continuous feedback to engage Millennials

Millennials want frequent conversations with their managers. In fact, they thrive in an environment of ongoing guidance and mentoring. The annual performance review process falls short. Consider implementing continuous feedback to keep employee performance conversations honest, open, and fluid. Be specific when providing feedback and recognize their achievements. Developing a coach-trainee relationship will help you motivate Millennials and build a productive workforce.

The right technology can automate the review process and make it more efficient. Asure Software’s Talent Management solutions include performance review automation to help managers enjoy a faster, more convenient review process.