You might recognise some of the following “myths” about Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) and that they are somehow “different” such as:
• Wanting to make positive difference to the world with their work
• Seeking personal meaning through work
• Valuing work-life balance
• Valuing learning and growth over remuneration.
Research conducted in 2014 found that Millennials are not as different as the media would have us believe. We are all pretty much the same with respect to our alignment (or otherwise) with the above statements.
The research report “Workforce 2020 – The looming talent crisis” surveyed more than 2,700 leaders and 2,700 employees from 27 different countries and they did uncover a couple of key differences about Millennials. It seems that Millennials:
• Value formal training and mentoring more than previous generations
• Want more feedback from their managers than previous generations.
Only 46 percent agreed that their managers delivered on their expectations for feedback. So here are some suggestions for making sure you are delivering on the feedback expectations of your team members.
Make performance visible
Use software dashboards to make each person’s goals and tasks clearly visible – not only to the individual, but to everyone else on the team.
Once these goals and tasks have been negotiated and agreed with each team member, they should be made public so everyone on the team can get real time visual feedback on:
• What each person is working on
• How well each person is tracking.
Making performance visible is a huge help, but it’s just the beginning. Dashboards don’t absolve the manager of their obligation to coach and support their people. I have a saying, “Successful business execution is 20 percent getting clear about what needs to be done, and 80 percent following up to make sure it actually gets done”.
Praise good performance
Recognition and praise is best delivered in the environment where the actual performance occurred, ideally among the person’s peers. Alternatively, if you are in a virtual team, make sure to send the team a notification of your praise being delivered. Let the whole team know when someone is doing a good job – whether it is hitting their numbers, or getting their key tasks done on time.
Coach poor performance
It’s not fun, but it has to be done. Problems seldom fix themselves. If you allow poor performance to persist without providing honest feedback and taking visible action to improve the situation, the manager is implicitly saying to the entire team that, “poor performance is OK around here”.
If you allow poor performance to be the norm, a culture of mediocrity develops.
Ask coaching questions
If someone is struggling, talk to the nonperformer in a non-threatening and supportive way and ask the following three questions: “I see the number of sales appointments you booked last week is ‘in the red’ again…
1. What’s happening here?
Allow the employee to respond. There may be valid reason for something not getting done.
2. What action can we take this week to move this forward?
Let them come up with solutions first. Then suggest others.
3. What support do you need?
Make it clear that you are on their side and that your role is to support your team members to be successful. Work together to come up with tangible actions and capture them as tasks. Follow up next week to make sure these tasks got done, and assess their impact on performance.
“Recognition and praise is best delivered in the environment where the actual performance occurred, ideally among the person’s peers. Alternatively, if you are in a virtual team, make sure to send the team a notification of your praise being delivered.”
If the person makes the necessary improvements, praise and recognise their progress and make them feel like the winner they are.
If however they are habitually falling short and can’t make the necessary improvements within an agreed time frame, then it is your role as a manager to do something about it.
Using the “manager as coach” analogy, you only win when your team succeeds. Your job as a manager is to select, train, coach and support a team of winning players.
If someone is unable to perform on your team, you either:
• Coach them to meet the standard
• Find them a new position where they can meet the standard, or
• You owe it to the rest of the team to remove them from the field.
You do want a team of winners don’t you? Being a manager means giving people regular feedback on their performance. If you aren’t comfortable with this, then you should not be managing people.
Stephen Lynch, chief operating officer of Global Operations at RESULTS.com Information kindly provided by RESULTS.com: www.results.com