As more and more Millennials enter the workplace, leaders are becoming more cognizant of the need to give frequent praise and regular evaluation—the kinds of feedback the emerging workforce was raised on and expects. But, here's the thing: as more and more people engage in social media, more players are added to the needs pool—and they come from every generation, not just the younger ones.
When we post on sites like Facebook and Instagram, what is our goal? Beyond wanting to share an idea or shine a positive light on our lives, what are we really looking for? Affirmation, of course. In the form of likes and shares. When we get it, it feels great. What happens if we don't? The emotional consequences can be devastating, albeit fleeting—because surely the next post will get the attention desired. But, if time and again we are overlooked, we might finally decide to deactivate.
As the feedback loop becomes more present in our personal online lives, our expectations change in other areas, and, most certainly at work. Managers now have an entire workforce that is yearning for acknowledgement. This could be viewed as a burden, but we see it as an opportunity.
Just as in social networking, we learn what people respond to and what they don't. More of this, less of that. The same goes with your feedback—and the more you express what you like and value, the more you'll see your team displaying it.
Think about it: over the course of six months, a lot can happen. If you're only giving beginning and mid-year performance evaluations, you're letting days and weeks pass when you could be guiding and sculpting your team into the high performers you're looking for. You can achieve this by providing ongoing evaluation through a combination of quarterly reviews, one-on-ones, and day-to-day recognition. If that sounds a bit daunting, remember: you don't have to go at it alone.
Knowing the positive feelings that the majority of your team members get from having online exchanges, why not take an approach similar to social media, but offline? How? By creating a community of sharing and praise that encompasses your immediate team, other departments, and even the whole company. As a manager, you still have the role of providing more formalized and consistent feedback, but by bringing opportunities for others to contributeon the spot, you can fill in a lot of gaps.
*Statistic source: pewinternet.org