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Millennials and the outdated annual employee appraisal

Published by: LifeWorks,

Millennials, those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, are quickly becoming the most influential cohort in companies around the world. By 2020 they will account for over 50% of the global workforce, and are now holding positions right across organizations from entry level to senior management.

Millennials have clear ideas around what their employer should offer.

Regardless of seniority, however, millennials have some very clear ideas around what their employer should offer – and in many instances these are in stark contrast to the expectations of their predecessors.

Looking for something more

In some quarters, millennials have the reputation of being money-hungry job hoppers who are simply looking to squeeze as much cash as possible out of their employers. Of course, there will always be individuals who are keen to maximize their earnings potential at all costs, which is perhaps understandable given the rocketing cost of living in many parts of the UK. However, by and large, this isn’t what makes the younger generations tick.

Historically, when attempting to entice the best talent, HR departments and recruiting managers would proudly promote their company’s benefits package. This might focus on a competitive salary, health insurance, pension contributions and perhaps child care support, all very valuable in their own right.

However, the millennial is looking for something more – they are interested in maintaining a work-life balance. The organizational culture of their employer is also very important to them.

Staff recognition

Employee recognition and any subsequent reward, usually in the form of a pay rise, has for decades revolved around the annual employee appraisal. However, there is building consensus that the traditional appraisal is an archaic system that fails the needs of both employees and employers.

Annual appraisals can create a feedback vacuum, leaving employees in the dark about their performance.

Indeed, a recent study revealed that 69% of millennials see their company’s review process as flawed. A major reason for this is because the annual employee appraisal can often create a feedback vacuum, where staff don’t receive any feedback on their work for months on end because it is saved up for their appraisal. The survey also found that three out of four millennials feel in dark about their performance, and nearly 90% would feel more confident if they had ongoing check-ins with their bosses.

Flexible employee appraisal

That said, there are signs that the tide is slowly turning and some organizations, such as Accenture, have ditched the annual employee appraisal in favour of something more flexible. However, many more are still investing huge amounts of HR and management time in a system which is actively alienating young talent.

Managers and employees need to interact in a more fluid and flexible way.

Businesses instead need to look at ways to establish systems that allow managers to recognise the impact and contribution of their staff in a timelier manner. This will require flexibility – no longer can businesses rely on a one-size-fits-all process. Rather, a framework is required that allows managers and employees to interact in a more fluid and flexible way.

Adopting this approach will undoubtedly pay dividends for all concerned. From a company perspective, the pressure on managers and HR teams around traditional appraisal season will be eased, and introducing a timelier, efficient feedback process will help staff to implement new methods far more quickly, aiding their development and increasing their productivity. From the employee’s perspective, they enjoy a more constructive and near real-time feedback process that helps them to feel more valued and accelerates their progression within their company.

Employees enjoy a more constructive and near real-time feedback process that helps them feel more valued.

Ultimately, it is a win-win situation. A happy, skilled and motivated employee is far more likely to do a better job, and is also far less likely to jump ship at the first opportunity.

Make your employees feel loved