The Gift of Feedback

Posted by Maria Milanetti & filed under Organizational Psychology.

How we see ourselves, as well as the ways in which we choose to develop, are often greatly influenced by others. If we reflect on our lives, our choices, it is easy to see how the awareness of how we have impacted others greatly influences the person we have become. It is this ongoing ebb and flow of feedback, reflection, and action that forms our continued personal and professional advancement.

In this blog we address the importance of giving feedback, both positive and corrective, to those who work with us and particularly Millennials who need the most feedback.  This allows organizations and leaders to engage and retain their most important resource – their people. Maintaining employees and managers requires working at this skill, particularly if we want to retain those in Generation Y or Millennials, who crave such feedback.

The lack of focus on feedback does not go unnoticed by either employees or managers, according to research. In fact, a whopping 65% of employees say they wanted more feedback, while 58% of managers think they don’t give enough feedback.

Research from Gallup and Globoforce tells us that employees need attention and feedback to do well and to improve, with an emphasis on strengths and course correction. One study indicates they are two times more likely to be actively disengaged if they are ignored by their manager, and 30 times more likely to be actively engaged if managers focus on their strengths.

We have the gift and responsibility of being able to influence others each day in our workplaces, and if we are able to do this with passion and an “other-centred” approach, often it can allow us to attract and retain the best possible talent in our businesses. Retention relies on us being able to give constructive feedback, both good and bad, to those in our organizations.

Millennials are trying very hard to learn fast and advance in their roles quickly while on the job. A full 42% of Millennials are interested in feedback at least once a week, which is what is seen in the ideal workplace, where employees are most engaged. Constructive feedback and regular conversation are a lifeline for them in the workplace, and there are some factors that differ for this generation as compared to others. In March 2014, the Pew Research Center issued a report about how “Millennials in adulthood” are “detached from institutions and networked with friends”. Lack of feedback will potentially increase this detachment, and reduce engagement.  Also, having grown up with the internet, and being comfortable learning from a variety of sources and groups, Millennials are highly ingenious.  Giving them credit for this savvy approach, while helping them navigate the culture of your organization is very important. Receiving positive feedback for the ingenuity and unique perspective of their contribution has the potential to not only encourage engagement and retention, but also fuel their efforts to achieve impactful results.

Consider engaging these Millennials and other generations – like Generation Xers and Boomers— thoughtfully to ensure they become enthusiastic employees. If you are able to succeed at giving each generation feedback, you will be on your way to winning the war for great talent.

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