Millennials in the Workforce
There’s a huge difference between wanting to be recognized for your efforts and wanting a pat on the back for a job well done. I don’t need a pat on my back for doing my job.
People have Millennials mistaken. I don’t think any of us want someone to coo at us every time we do our job and say, “Aww, you’re so good, thank you!” Well, I certainly don’t. I would much rather be in a position where my job is valuable and people respect my position in the company.
I prefer my pats on the back to come in the form of merit increases. If you feel that I am doing a great job and go above and beyond, then pay me for it.
I am learning that people confuse the idea of wanting positive feedback with babysitting. My co-worker recently shared statistics that 58% of employees wish their managers gave them more feedback while 65% of managers think they give enough. Perhaps managers are giving feedback, but it’s not the right type of feedback.
Employees want to know that the work they slave over is actually worth something to the company. I’d much rather hear my boss say, “Thank you so much for this report; it will help me significantly in my next meeting,” versus her saying, “Thank you so much for this report; you are the best ever!” People are not looking for their egos to be stroked. They just want to feel important. Because why work hard when you know the work you produce doesn’t matter anyway?
Millennials are criticized for wanting affirmation that they are on the right track. There are two angles to tackle here. An employee should be confident in their abilities to complete a task without needing a nod of encouragement to continue. However, managers need to make sure their instructions are clearly conveyed and they have provided their employees with proper resources to actually complete the task. I used to ask if something was right every time I did something. Once I understood my limitations and what my boss wanted, I quit and gained confidence in myself. I don’t believe managers spend enough time with their employees explaining project parameters and expectations. When people fully understand an assignment they don’t need to fish around for compliments to see if they are on the right path, they know they are and they continue moving forward.
Gratitude and fulfillment are certainly two different concepts as well. Yes, I think managers and companies alike should show gratitude to their employees by providing team building opportunities, company outings and department lunches. Not just because it makes their employees feel good, but because it provides an overall positive employee morale. It also helps reduce turnover and vacancy because people understand their purpose and feel they are appreciated within the company.
Fulfillment comes when you know your work is for the greater good and you help someone along the way. It’s the feeling you get when you know you have been successful. I am fulfilled in my job scope by being able to problem-solve when people send problems my way and I send a solution back. I value the “thank you’s” I receive from my customers more than from my boss. Why? Because my customers are genuinely thankful that I provided them a solution due to the effectiveness of my work. My boss shows her gratitude with merit increases, promotions and small tokens of appreciation.
So the next time you decide to shame Millennials for their approach, recognize your own first. Make sure that you have put your employees in a position to feel important and valued by you, their manager, even if the company doesn’t understand the importance of their role as a file clerk.