Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 02 2015

What The Millennials In Your Office Really Want

By David McMillin

Meeting professionals and exhibitors have spent plenty of time trying to figure out how to engage Millennial attendees. In an effort to secure a strong future for the industry, it seems like everyone is working to determine what adds up to a satisfactory experience for anyone born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. What do they prefer in education sessions? How do Millennials like to network? What will draw them into a trade show booth?

While each of these questions is important, it’s equally essential to focus on another set of Millennials: the members of the generation who are working in the organizations, hotels and AV companies that make the meetings industry tick. So what do Millennials really want in the early stages of their career? It’s not just about wages, benefits and travel perks. A recent survey conducted by SuccessFactors and Oxford Economics reveals that Millennials crave one key ingredient in the work environment: feedback.

It’s that simple. They want to hear from your organization’s leadership more on what they’re doing well, what they can improve and what they need to do to stay on a promising path toward career success. The study shows that Millennials want feedback 50 percent more often than the other employees in the office.

SEE ALSO: Are Performance Reviews A Waste Of Time?

While many organizations function an annual performance review model, that schedule is not enough for Millennials. Karie Willyerd, coauthor of the study, addressed the need to reevaluate the way leaders approach Millennials in a piece for Harvard Business Review. 

“Our subsequent conversations with hundreds of Millennials made it clear that what they want most from their managers isn’t more managerial direction, per se, but more help with their own personal development,” Willyerd wrote.

SEE ALSO: Will This New Hotel Brand Be Enough To Engage Millennials?

The study shows that managers have plenty of room to get better at managing Millennials. Only 46 percent of respondents indicated that their managers are delivering on their expectations for feedback. In order to improve, though, it’s not just about the frequency of feedback. How a manager offers praise and advice is crucial, too.

“Millennials seek an approachable manager and a role model whom they can emulate,” Willyerd writes. “Telling stories of your own failures and struggles, as well as your victories, makes you more approachable.”

Looking for more advice understanding the Millennial Generation? Check out “4 Statistics You Should Know About Your Millennial Attendees.”


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