For years, we have debated the need for change (HR and Business) in a monotonously repetitive way and finally change seems to be in the air. Not, however, based on agreement or consensus between the debating parties, but more, it seems, based on what we believe the millennials expect in a working relationship. This is somewhat unprecedented, that we care so much about what the new generations want, that we are prepared to abandon principles and ways of doing things that we (many of us) have clung to for decades.
At least this way, people do not have to admit that they were wrong (or debate whether they were) but develop and prepare for change based what the millennials want. The possible explanation is that we did it right for our time and we are now changing it, not for us, but for new generations (a new business model) whose needs are different.
A cynic may claim that the needs of earlier generations were equally profound, but in the past, they were suppressed. This time around, there is more acceptance that the millennials will set the pattern for the future. That is hard to dispute, as earlier generations inevitably fade out of sight. The old generations (as throughout history) are being replaced by new generations (including millennials) and this time we are promoting change earlier than usual, possibly before the millennials change their mind or mellow and adapt to their “designated” role in society.
Whatever the reason, it is time for change and we are more ready for change and that is good. Do you agree? The millennial style business will be more efficient and more inclusive (so they say) and one aspect of the desired change that is strongly publicized is the need for frequent and real time performance feedback. How will this affect the traditional way we conduct business?
IMPACT OF REAL TIME PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK
- The traditional HR performance management program will be dropped or extensively reformatted – used more for coaching than evaluation? Do you agree?
- Real time evaluation (by the direct supervisor) will be based on real time work performed and using relevant work criteria aligned to the goals of the functional unit
- There will be ongoing disclosure between the supervisor and employee concerning performance level and both will have access to relevant online data and tracking processes
- Whatever may be said about millennials wanting ongoing feedback (and coaching) it will only be welcomed from a manager/supervisor who is respected. If annual feedback is resented, more frequent feedback from a similar style supervisor will be even more resented
- Millennials giving feedback to other millennials is no guarantee of greater success. Once people from any generation establish their place within society and adopt related values, earlier homogeneous qualities may rapidly dissipate
THE NEED FOR GREATER OBJECTIVITY
- If work measures are as objective as possible, employees are more likely to accept them as valid. Supervisor opinion about the attitude or personality of an individual (as at present) could be challenged as intrusive or subjective and resented rather than welcomed as helpful. Most supervisors do not have the skills to make such judgements
- Objectivity based on work criteria established at the outset (and clearly measurable) is essential partly due to the projected greater proportion of the workforce who will be contract and temporary employees. There is not time to delay work evaluation and base it on cumulative factors and personal assessments rather than real time work performance
These are just a few thoughts about current changes in the workplace. Do you think that change is being prompted primarily by the reported different needs of millennials, or is it change that most people accept as necessary and particularly because of technological change and our related greater capability to meet business needs without overcomplicating? One aspect I have not addressed is recruiting. For certain positions, the process may be more analytical and complex than at present, but for the majority it could be primarily online with limited personal intervention – a fast and efficient system, particularly for contract and transitional positions. What do you think?
Thank you for your interest. I look forward to any thoughts and comments you may have.