Four Best Practices To Engage Millennials with Feedback

Today’s millennial generation is the best-educated workforce ever.

Today’s millennial generation is the best-educated workforce ever. Many millennials see their job as a way to support a cause or purpose greater than a paycheck. If work is not related to a greater cause or purpose, millennials are generally unengaged and likely to change jobs when an opportunity presents itself.

An important desire of all generations, and especially Millennials, is getting regular feedback. Some Gen X’ers and Baby Boomer managers hear the request for feedback as “here’s the next generation looking for a certificate because they attended work.” Our discussions with Millennials suggest nothing could be further from the truth. Millennials want feedback because they care about what they are doing and want to be better at it. More often than not, Millennials are truly seeking the constructive feedback as opposed to positive reinforcement.

Constant feedback is one method to increase the engagement of Millennials (and all employees for that matter!) Gallup research suggests higher engagement levels leads to higher profits, lower turnover and higher customer satisfaction.


We’ve found four keys to providing effective millennial feedback:

  1. Recognize and implement quick cycle “reviews.” Quarterly or annual reviews no longer cut it. Reviews can be as simple as a quick note, a comment at a stand up meeting or an impromptu stop by the workstation to give feedback. Reviews need to happen at least once every ten days.
  2. Be specific in your comments. “Good job” is confusing and can be perceived as insincere, regardless of how it is intended. Its not clear what activity is being referred to or what aspect of the activity was “good.” More impactful are specifics such as “I admire the way you stuck with the tough situation on the Jones account until it was resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.” We, as managers, put a lot of effort in wording criticism “just so”, doesn’t it make sense to place the same effort into wording compliments?
  3. Identify with each team member the method they prefer for feedback. Some may like recognition on social media or via text, while others prefer face-to-face recognition. Some may like recognition to occur in front of peers, while others may prefer one on one.
  4. Constructive criticism can be linked to a company or personal vision, goal or metric. Couple it with recognition of specific behavior that is appreciated. Ask if there are additional trainings, knowledge or resources that would assist or interest the employee.

If your employee has to ask for feedback, it’s a sure sign they are not getting enough feedback that potentially makes them a flight risk. Take the initiative; establish a goal for providing regular group and individual feedback and you will see the results.