Performance Management and Millennial…what do they really want?

27th June - 2019

There has been a lot of talk about millennials, their work ethic and their job satisfaction.  Whether you believe in stereotyping generations or not, there is always some truth to the research, particularly given the research is so thorough.  After all, as Gen X’er’s, we know that millennials have a different way of working and have different priorities to us. Whether we like it or not, we have to learn more about the millennial generation so we can be better managers and better equipped as organisations to manage and develop appropriately. 

What does the research tell us about Millennials and how does this relate to performance management?

Gallup has found that Millennials will make up 70% of the workforce by 2025, this we cannot ignore.  It is for this very reason that research is continually needed on millennials, particularly their ways of working, their workplace trends and their lifestyle preferences.  Further Gallup’s research finds that millennials are not very engaged on the whole and less than 50% are thriving in any aspect of wellbeing. Millennials are more likely to pursue development over job satisfaction. 

Simon Sinek has spoken out on millennials the last few years with an emphasis on their entitlement, amongst other areas of work and life behaviours.  He has said they are a very unhappy generation, which concurs with Gallup’s research and other research and speakers on the topics. Simon Sinek goes on to say that parenting, technology, impatience and environment are the main areas that have impacted this generation. 

The fact that this generation is very unhappy speaks volumes.  There has to be a direct correlation with how they need to be managed and supported.  The traditional annual appraisals and performance reviews don’t cut it with millennials.  Nor does any management system that is impersonal and doesn’t promote the strong relationships with their peers and management.  These traditional performance management processes have not encouraged the millennial and certainly doesn’t play to their strengths and their needs. 

How do we, as managers and organisations, build performance management and people management practices to engage millennials?

There are a number of factors that are critically important if we want to engage millennials in the workplace.  For us, knowing that millennials are a very unhappy workforce is cause enough for us at Yoomi to think very differently about performance management.  We actually don’t think about just performance management, we think about it as performance, engagement and wellbeing, and it is all interconnected.  

For millennials, being connected and building relationships is vitally important as is the frequency of the conversation.  No longer is the impersonal six month nature of any performance review or engagement survey a meaningful management philosophy.  

In a recent podcast I listened to on ‘What it Takes’, General David Petraeus was interviewed and he spoke about the people he has worked with that are no older than 24. He said they are smart and always have something to say, and it is worth listening to.  He is right and it is time that we get smart ourselves and have regular check-in conversations at the very least.  

We like to think about going the extra mile and being able to have regular conversations with intelligent data, this data being employee performance, engagement and wellbeing related, so that a greater conversation can take place and be part of the regular conversation. 

There’s more to Performance Management with Millennials…Consider the Whole Person.

Considering the whole person is the key going forward.  Performance discussions and reviews at one time and a separate general engagement survey with little or no focus on wellbeing at another time are not the idea.  None of this should be in isolation. Having one place where performance, engagement and wellbeing data is captured for an employee is so very important.  

Millennials are our future workforce population and performance management for this generation is more than just performance management alone.  So much more needs to be considered and managed. Think about how you can be more personal, have regular conversations and build high levels of engagement, whilst fully understanding their wellbeing, development and career aspirations.  This will be the key to developing a happier generation and stronger group of employees for future success. 

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