These days, the most common complaint employees have is the fact that their employers don’t provide enough recognition for the work they do. That’s a fairly recent development, and it has left many employers alternately scratching their heads and struggling to catch up and give their work force what they want and need. Understanding where this need came from matters, because it will allow you to not only give them what they need, but to do so in a way that creates a powerful strategic advantage for your business. Let’s take a closer look.
Millennials are the main drivers of this new expectation, because they now dominate the American workforce, being the largest generation in US history. Survey after survey has underscored the fact that regular feedback and recognition is incredibly important to them, but that answer doesn’t get us any closer to understanding where their desire came from.
The answer may surprise you, and can be summed up in two words. Social media.
Think about it. If you’re on Facebook, or one of the other popular social media platforms, and you post a picture or a post about something that’s going on in your life, you get immediate feedback, and more significantly, you get that feedback on a constant, ongoing basis. Contrast that to the way that companies have typically conducted employee performance reviews: Once a year. Twice a year in a few cases.
And it’s not just Millennials. Sure, they were the main drivers behind the shift, but increasingly, employees of all ages are coming to expect the same thing. This is not too surprising. Having seen the expectations that Millennials have, and being exposed to the same type of real-time social media feedback, the idea is growing on workers from other generations too.
From a business standpoint, at first glance this seems like a huge new burden to place on management, but on closer inspection, it’s actually a tremendous opportunity that creates a win-win for both employer and employee. Here’s how:
If you only provide feedback to your employees once or twice a year, then by definition, months are going by when your employees have no idea what you think of their performance.
Now imagine if you gave them feedback and recognition on a near-constant basis, like they get on Facebook. It gives you the opportunity to tweak their work performance at regular intervals, guiding, molding and shaping them into exactly the type of employee you want and need them to be.
In other words, you can use the much more frequent feedback to turn every employee in your organization into a rock star, and by structuring it in a way that resembles the social media platforms they spend so much time on, you’re seamlessly integrating your business into the fabric of the lives of your employees.
That creates a powerful incentive for your employees to stay and increases job satisfaction, which only further bolsters productivity. A virtuous cycle that will do great things for your bottom line, and what’s not to like about that?