Sales Coaching Blog

Managing Millennials: How to communicate through feedback

Posted by Anna Schott

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May 2, 2016

TEDxLincolnWomen.jpgDo you have millennials working for you or maybe foresee them incorporated into your organization in the near future? Then here’s a juicy sales leadership tip learned from Dr. Karyn Gordon, an expert in the field of generational differences, at the 2016 Sales Coaching Summit in Vegas last month: Don’t wait to give millennials feedback until their annual performance reviews - which don’t work anyway (more on that topic in my last blog). Instead, make an effort to continually engage and communicate with them in meaningful, effective ways.

How do you engage them effectively? It starts with building a relationship and trust. Nurturing relationships doesn’t come easy for everyone, but in regards to leading and coaching a millennial, it’s crucial. It’s crucial because millennials are more apt to jump jobs than any other generation mainly because they value job satisfaction more than job security.

It’s helpful to dig into why they are the way they are by looking into their upbringing, the inventions that came about and the economy and society at large as they were growing up. First, they had helicopter parents, mainly the Boomer generation, ready to tend to each and every need or question. Second, they had the Internet offering instant gratification and quick feedback. And third, they had a report card for just about every activity known to mankind.

So there you go. Feedback and reassurance is a way of life for them. Knowing that, coaches must alter the way they coach, lead and manage them in a unique way that suits their personality. Not one person is the same, so do not coach them in the same cookie cutter fashion. Get to know them and ask questions. Get a feel for how they like to be recognized, what their goals are, what they need help with and how to play a role in developing them professionally and personally.millennials.jpg

On that note, I think it’s important to point out that the role of the manager (otherwise known as “coach” as we like to use) is a privilege. Coaches have the opportunity to impact the lives of others and it is honorable and highly rewarding when those individuals succeed because of the help and guidance from their coach.

So sales coaches across the world, take your job to heart and understand that all millennials, or anybody for that matter, really want is to know that you care and willing to invest in their continued growth as a professional and even better, a human being. Don’t waste this opportunity because in the end, their success is ultimately your success.

Need more direction on how to engage millennials effectively? Here’s some effective and highly creative ways to do so:

  • Be consistent
    • When conducting 1:1’s with millennials make sure you’re executing them at the proper quality and frequency. Learn how you can do so in this white paper.
  • Use technology
    • Face-to-face is great, but remember, millennials are tech savy and most prefer digital feedback rather than no feedback. Try this awesome app Eyejot which gives you the ability to create and send video mail from your mobile device to your browser – I highly recommend downloading the app on your phone for the exporbitant price of 99 cents. The videos can be short, sweet and to the point messages that will take a minute or so out of your day and mean so much much to the receiver.
  • Implement social hours
    • Whether it be a team lunch once a week at the conference table, happy hour on a Friday or maybe a company-wide philanthropic event, make sure to engage with millennials letting them know you enjoy their company not only during work hours, but also during social hours.
  • Let them talk
    • Give them some ownership in a meeting or 1:1 by having them create the agenda and facilitate the meeting. This is a great development activity, but don’t forget to give good, constructive feedback afterward . . . obviously.

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We also recommend checking out this white paper about the role sales coaches play when motivating their sales team:

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Topics: managing millennials, Millennial feedback, Managing GenerationY

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