Not only can feedback improve employee performance (as highlighted in my recent article, How to Deliver Employee Feedback Most Effectively) but it can also boost retention, especially with Generation Z.

Sixty-six percent of Gen Z say they need feedback from their supervisor at least every few weeks in order to stay at their job. Less than half of Millennials say they require the same level of feedback.

As Gen Z enters the workforce with different expectations and needs surrounding feedback, here are three ways managers can deliver better feedback.

1. Increase the frequency of feedback

Sixty percent of Gen Z want multiple check-ins from their manager during the week; of those, 40 percent want the interaction with their boss to be daily or several times each day.

Considering Gen Z grew up in digital environments full of real-time feedback (likes, comments, shares, etc.), it's not surprising that Gen Z has an elevated appetite for feedback at work.

Yearly, quarterly, or monthly performance reviews are no longer sufficient considering the speed at which work cycles are evolving. Creating a culture where the cadence of feedback matches the fluctuation of the marketplace is a must to keep Gen Z employees informed, engaged, and performing well.

In my recent interview with David Hassell, CEO of the continuous performance management software company, 15Five.com, he described the importance of increasing feedback frequency this way...

Think about the amount of sensory feedback we receive when we drive three blocks behind the wheel of a car. The weather, stop lights, traffic, pedestrians, speedometer, feel of the steering wheel, passenger's talking, radio sounds, GPS notifications, etc. are all being processed as sensory feedback by the driver. Not getting feedback in today's [fast-paced, high-flux, and] notification-filled world, is like driving those three blocks blindfolded. This is what infrequent performance reviews are essentially doing. 

Increase the frequency of feedback to meet the needs of today's modern worker.

2. Decrease the duration of feedback

Sixty-seven percent of Gen Z is comfortable with having their manager check in with them but only for five minutes or less.

"The most commonly associated word with 'annual reviews' is 'dreaded' for both the manager and employee," says Hassell.

Why are reviews so dreadful? Because they take people out of their normal workflow and usually consist of taking 30-60 minutes to review a pile of outdated and non-critical circumstances that happened months ago. And because the optimal moment for delivering feedback has passed, the opportunity to urgently and favorably shape the employee's behavior is severely limited.

Alternatively, managers can transform employee behavior in just 2-3 sentences using the effective employee feedback formula of high standards + assurance + direction + support. (Read this to learn more about this formula.)

Decreasing the duration of feedback using this feedback formula is simple but not easy. Managers must be intentional about seeking areas where employees need/want feedback and make delivering helpful feedback a weekly (or even daily) routine.

3. Make feedback high-tech and high-touch

Seventy-one percent of Gen Z believe they can be friends with someone they have only met virtually, which is the highest among all generations. Gen Z is a digital generation, yet they crave human elements at work and in their workplace communications. And when it comes to feedback, 75 percent of Gen Z prefer to receive manager feedback in-person.

Managers should deliver feedback via the high-tech channels Gen Z expects while serving up the high-touch they crave.

Hassell's 15Five employee feedback platform successfully blends high-tech and high-touch. Via 15Five employees take five minutes to answer questions, track their goals and company priorities, and receive 360° feedback. In as little as 15 minutes per week, managers can use 15Five to keep a pulse on employee morale and performance, recognize employees, and streamline and supplement face-to-face meetings.

Hassell says, "Managers use 15Five's 1-on-1 meeting agenda to turn employee feedback into swift action and managers can quickly add responses to upcoming 1-on-1 agendas, making their face-to-face meetings more effective and focused on solutions."

A blend of high-tech and high-touch sure to develop and engage Gen Z.

Published on: Jun 25, 2019
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