6 Ways To Refresh Goals For A Millennial Workforce
Setting ambitious but realistic goals for your team always requires care. But managing millennials — born in the 1980s and 1990s — might require a fresh approach. To devise goals that might hold particular appeal to younger employees:
- Establish a Two-way Process
Traditional bosses declare a goal and then expect staffers to work hard to attain it. That approach might not be as effective with millennials. “You want to be a transformational leader, not a transactional one,” said Jesse Calloway, a leadership consultant. That means turning young employees into participants who help shape their own performance goals, as opposed to setting a high bar and threatening to punish them if they fail to meet your standard.
- Stay Involved
It may not be enough to explain a goal and then walk away. Millennials are perceived by some as craving coaching and interaction. Calloway suggests that you set up checkpoints to meet with millennials to gauge their progress as they march toward a goal. “It’s important to follow up so they know you want to coach them along the way,” he said. “So say, ‘We’ll get together next week to check in.’ And when you do check in, celebrate the small, successful steps” that the individual has achieved.
- Think Sooner, Not Later
Regardless of the age of your team members, set goals that motivate them to excel. But be aware that millennials might be more inclined to push themselves harder if they face a tight time frame.”They grew up in an instant-gratification culture,” said Rachel Ernst, director of employee success at Reflektive, a San Francisco-based firm that makes performance-management software. “They tend to have less patience and want goals that they can attain over the short term, say eight to 12 weeks instead of one year.”
- Emphasize Professional Development
Goals might resonate more forcefully with millennials if they are tied to advancement opportunities. Young staffers may want reassurance that if they meet or exceed the objectives you’ve set, they will reap career rewards.”After six to nine months in a role, they want to know what’s new,” said Ernst, who manages many millennials. “So I’ll say to them, ‘Here’s how these goals will help you enter a new role or function.’ ”
- Focus on Outcome, Not Process
Even if you encourage millennials to craft their own goals, you might still need to refine how they think about their contribution to the organisation’s success. Left on their own, they might confuse process with outcome. Say a young go-getter proposes making 100 sales calls a week. Rather than just nod approvingly, translate those calls into broader, more impactful goals. “When I let millennials take a first shot at drafting their goals, they often start with process goals,” Ernst said. “Their mindset is more task-oriented: I have to make these calls, do these things, etc. Then I ask questions so they think more deeply about outcome goals” that strengthen the company. For example, Ernst might redirect a millennial from narrowly concentrating on certain tasks by asking, “If you think about your role more broadly, what can you do to build community and impact our organisation as a whole?”
- Embrace Transparency
Because they likely were raised in a sea of social media, millennials are probably accustomed to open, unfiltered online sharing. They may respond well to collaborative leaders who combine goal-setting with personal disclosure and information-sharing. For instance, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson shares her own performance reviews with 2,400 employees — many of whom are millennials. Why? She wants her team to see how she’s working to improve.