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Working With Younger, Ambitious, & Feedback-Hungry Workers

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Younger employees are adamant about receiving honest, frequent feedback. Millennials, who comprise about half of the world’s workforce, overwhelmingly want more feedback than they are getting.

“Info Babies”

For the purpose of understanding feedback preferences, we can merge younger Gen X members and Gen Y into a category I call “Info Babies,” a descriptor based on the two generations’ shared experience of growing up with real-time information at their fingertips. Rapid-fire communication is the rule, not the exception, and information is free, easily accessible, and readily available. It’s not surprising that Info Baby employees, accustomed to instant data access, also want instant access to crucial feedback from their manager and others they work with.

Younger workers do not want feedback “lite.”

They want transparency.

Jay Gilbert in his article, “The Millennials: A New Generation of Employees, A New Set of Engagement Policies,” conducted interviews with Millennials that revealed just how serious they are about their feedback. Responses such as this one were common:

“I am very receptive even to quite negative feedback, but I like knowing where I stand, and I like knowing what the expectations are and how I’m stacking up.”

Clearly, when it comes to feedback, younger workers want substance over style. The idea that a boss is softening or qualifying the delivery of a message seems foreign to them. It is not surprising that the employees most accustomed to unvarnished, unverified “news” from a thousand sources, and emotionally “naked” personal revelations on the Internet want the same instantaneous access to unpolished, raw data – feedback – from their manager. And they want it now.

What to do about this?

1. Stop delaying feedback discussions. Try one tomorrow morning. Be sure to ask for feedback in return.

2. Trust yourself. You are probably not in the super small percentage of people who are toxic feedback-givers. Chances are 20 times greater than you are a feedback avoider!

3. Allocate more time for this and notice how much time you save through visible improvements.

4. Speed it up & notice how you and your team are getting used to it.

5. Enjoy life. Enjoy closer relationships with your employees and notice how you are learning a thing or two from everyone else!

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