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Is Your Performance Management Hitting the Mark for Millennials?

By John Whyte, Sr. Product Manager, Dayforce Talent Management

Performance management has always been a tricky responsibility for human resources professionals. With one of the greatest workforce transformations in history taking place – the rise of millennials as the majority – performance management needs to not only improve, but also evolve. The demands, preferences, expectations and goals of millennials are far different from those of baby boomers and even generation Y. Performance management has to adapt to satisfy the expectations of this very new workforce.

The first step toward formulating a strong performance management strategy for the modern era is to understand what millennials are looking for in these frameworks. 

A look inside
Rishav Gupta, a contributor writing for, recently explained some of the ways in which modern performance management has to diverge from traditional approaches, as well as how millennials are catalyzing massive change. According to the author, perhaps the biggest issue the younger generation takes with antiquated performance management is with respect to reviews. This might be an issue that transcends millennials to boot.

He stated that human resources professionals might be able to skirt this problem by completely throwing out the script of the traditional review, especially when it comes to only focusing on one specific metric or element of the employee’s responsibilities. Gupta argued that younger generations – as well as an increasing rate of long-term workforce members – want to have a more engaging review that yields positive, tangible outcome.

This demand is not necessarily new. What is novel – and tricky to get right – is the need for speed. Gupta noted that millennials expect “real-time feedback” and that a failure to fit this preference could potentially undermine the other aspects of performance management in today’s workplace. Therefore, businesses must at once learn to review performance in a more comprehensive fashion for each employee, and turn the results into actionable insights in a much shorter period of time than seen in the past.

The existential shift
To achieve these goals, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the approach that companies take to performance management, with a specific focus on strategies that have positive impacts on all employees, virtually every work day of the year. At Ceridian, for example, we have moved from a focus on performance management to performance development. Forbes also suggested that changing the mentality from performance management to a more motivational approach like this can help to streamline the finer points of each company’s approach.

This would demand that human resources departments remain goal-centric, specifically in terms of staff members’ objectives, and drive home the idea of individuality among them. Considering the fact that millennials are also known for the desire to be self-sufficient – contributing members to the workforce who can operate autonomously – this change in performance management plan can have a lasting, positive impact on businesses.

John WhyteJohn Whyte joined Ceridian’s Talent Management product team in 2010 and has over 10 years of product management experience. Current responsibilities include driving the Dayforce Talent Management strategy for recruiting, performance development, compensation management and beyond.  John is a proud father of four year-old twin girls, a semi-retired bagpiper, and an avid sports fan.

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