Skip to content

IBM’s 6 Tips For Communicating Feedback to Gen Y Workers (Wall Street Journal)

ibm-logo In the October 13, 2008 Theory & Practice column in the Managing section of the Wall Street Journal, Brittany Hite writes about how younger workers expect more frequent and focused feedback about their job performance. Employers Rethink How They Give Feedback – In Response to Young Workers’ Demands, Companies Are Beginning to Provide More Detailed Guidance on Job Performance (free conent). Hite writes:

In a recent survey, 65% of "Generation Y" workers at Ernst & Young said "providing detailed guidance in daily work" was moderately or extremely important, compared with 39% of Baby Boomers. An overwhelming 85% of Gen Y employees said their age-group peers want "frequent and candid performance feedback," while only half of Boomers agreed. Generation Y included those born after 1980; Gen X, those born from 1965 to 1980; and Boomers, 1946 to 1964.

In the article Hite shares some tips from IBM for providing feedback to Gen Y workers:

  1. Avoid surprises: Don’t wait for the annual performance review;
  2. Be clear: Specify expectations, especially when employees are new to a task;
  3. Listen: Ask what worked; use open ended questions to prompt a dialogue;
  4. Keep it loose: Gen Yers like infomality, including instant messages;
  5. Reflect: Tell Gen Yers what you’ve learned from them;
  6. Be prepared: Keep notes to make feedback sessions more constructive.

While this advice is targeted for Gen Y workers, it’s probably a best practice in nearly any situation.

Leaders need to know how to communicate effectively and, if necessary, adjust their styles to the changing landscape of work. While tools like instant messaging and Twitter may not be the first choice for baby boomer managers, they should have a basic familiarity and use them strategically, especially if it’s a more effective way to deliver a message.

About the author

Peter A. Mello, Founder/Editor Founder of Weekly Leader and Sea-Fever Consulting, LLC, a leadership development and strategic communications consultancy. Previously, CEO of an international nonprofit organization and COO of a national insurance/risk management services firm. Peter has been leading people and managing organizations for over 30 years, writes a leadership column for MarineNews magazine and blogs about maritime culture at Sea-Fever. Follow him on Twitter.

Be Sociable, Share!

Posted in Toolbox.

Tagged with , , .