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Millennials want more feedback from their employers. And they want it monthly, not quarterly or annually. Here are eight tips for coaching millennials in the workplace.

While you were busy with sales goals, new hires and turnover, another business tsunami was happening. This year, millennials will compose more than a third (the majority) of employees in the workforce. In just five years, they will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce.

This shift in generations is providing a common challenge for sales managers across all business – how to lead, motivate and coach millennials.

Millennial attitudes toward work and life have been shaped by numerous cultural factors. They were the first generation to grow up as digital natives. Millennial parents believed in giving them personal attention and constant validation. And their lives were packed with group-centered activities.

It should be no surprise that millennials want more feedback from their employers. Based on a global survey that SuccessFactors conducted in 2014 in partnership with Oxford Economics, millennials typically want feedback 50% more often than other employees. They expect feedback from their managers, and they want it monthly, not quarterly or annually. Only 46% agreed that their managers delivered on their expectations for feedback.

Factors to Consider in Coaching Millennials:

  1. Help with Personal Development. The survey shows that the reason millennials seek feedback is to improve the skills that will lead to career advancement. They want managers to help them develop a personalized career path.
  2. Feedback in Real Time. Millennials have high expectations for their managers and themselves. If they don’t have feedback, they may assume they are doing something wrong. So feedback should include both positive and negative comments on a regular ongoing basis. Feedback can be as simple as a quick compliment, a text or an email.
  3. Inspiration. Millennials are far more socially conscious than other generations. They are more interested in making a contribution to society. They want to be inspired and they want to believe that their employer is seeking change for a higher purpose. The team and the mission are more compelling motivators than “corporate goals”. Coaches should seek to inspire with stories of vision and mission.
  4. On-the-job training. Millennials are continuous learners and are action oriented. They want to experience learning rather than just listening to a lecturer. Interactive exercises and role play are effective teaching methods.
  5. Collaboration. Millennials are consummate team players and collaborators. All those years of sports practices, music lessons and camps have fostered a team orientation. Millennials believe a team can accomplish more than a lone ranger. Create teams for peer mentors, group brainstorming and cross-training opportunities.
  6. Authenticity and Respect. This generation wants leaders who are honest, have integrity and treat them with respect. They have grown up in a diverse world and also require gender and racial equality in the workplace.
  7. Measurement.   Millennials have been tested and held to high standards most of their life. In work, they want to understand how their performance will be judged and rewarded. Employers should define and communicate clear and consistent performance measures.
  8. Fun in the Workplace. Millennials view work as more play than work. They thrive in a flexible, relaxed culture that encourages sharing, innovation and open communication. Small celebrations and shared experiences strengthen the teams and keep millennials engaged.
About the Author
Mike Esterday

Partner and CEO

Mike Esterday first discovered his talent for sales when he ranked number one out of 6,000 sales professionals in his...
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