When I talk to Boomers , I hear this whining, moaning, complaining about Gen Y needing constant feedback.
Of course, when it comes to Boomers, they know that the annual 360 or performance evaluation are the only times feedback should be delivered and “no feedback is good feedback” seems to be their mantra (not always…but most of the time.)
I don’t really get why the request for feedback is such an issue…so your Gen Ys want feedback on their performance on an ongoing basis? My hunch is that if we all took this position, we might not be in the mess we’re in today. As a young employee, if you don’t know how you’re doing, then how in the world can you improve?
So, if you are a senior leader who is frustrated with your Gen Y’s need for constant feedback, there are 3 things you can do to help with this situation:
1) Give 5 minutes of feedback on Tuesday and Thursday of each week. On Tuesday, give them feedback about Monday. On Thursday, give them feedback about what happened on Wednesday. And, when you give feedback, here is how to say it “I want to acknowledge you for doing x…you really helped out the team with this approach.” And…for negative feedback, say something like “I noticed you did or said x yesterday. You will be much more effective and build out your leadership capabilities if you do x.”
2) When your Gen Ys ask you for feedback at a random moment, just give it. Give one minute of quick feedback and move on. The majority of the time, your younger employees just want to know they are on the right track. Don’t lecture or harp on the issue..just give the quick feedback and move on. The more they know they are doing things the right way, the less they will ask you for this ongoing feedback. And…for heaven’s sake…stop being so impatient when your Gen Ys ask you for feedback. It’s not going to kill you to give one quick minute of feedback. If you have an employee who is coming to you all day long for feedback, remind them that you will be giving them feedback on Tuesday and Thursday.
3) Go to lunch or breakfast with your Gen Y’s one time each quarter simply to discuss how everything is going. Use this as a more casual/more social time to give more extensive feedback and to talk “big picture” topics.
At the end of the day, if you are resisting giving feedback, it’s probably because you have an issue around receiving feedback. Times are different, and in our current economy, we all need more feedback about what’s going on today so that we can turn things around as quickly as possible.