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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Retain Your Millennials and Increase Their Performance


For years we heard that the Millennials joining the workforce were chasing adventure. They wanted to work for cool start-ups, collaborate with other Millennials, and change the world!

Surprisingly, a new Inforsys and Future Foundation study of 16-25 year olds shows that this may not be the whole story. It appears that a large portion of this group of fresh faces is craving security and stability rather than spontaneous adventure in their jobs.

Knowing this, you might wonder, "If they want stability in their work, why do we have a retention problem with Millennials in our workforce? Why aren’t these younger workers settling in for the long-haul?" Good questions! A 2015 Gallup Poll found that Millennials are the least-engaged cohort in the workplace, with only 28.9% saying that they are engaged at work.

After spending a lot of time studying and working with this group, I could offer you quite a few thoughts on why this could be: they are impatient for promotions, they are willing to try new things when they feel the grass is greener somewhere else, they hunger for immediate gratification in their daily work, and they are accustomed to constant stimulation, which can cause them to become bored and disenchanted easily.

But this latest study shows us something especially interesting. This group greatly values training and performance feedback above almost anything else. tweet-button-1.jpg

Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the younger salespeople were surrounded by coaches, teachers, tutors, mentors, and parents, all patiently showing them what to do, observing their performance, and providing them with feedback. That feels normal to them and it gives them an enormous sense of stability.

This is good news! While your Millennials may need a higher dose of support than more experienced salespeople, a strong training program and regular performance feedback is key to success in any sales organization. By upping your game here, you will impact more than your Millennial retention levels; you will also improve the overall performance and level of engagement across your entire team.

Ask yourself, how often do you give good feedback? Not the superficial-check-the-box-because-it’s-done kind of feedback, but the kind of feedback that really makes a difference and grows a person. This might be an opportunity for you too! 

Here are 10 ways to increase sales performance with successful feedback:

  1. Set clear expectations so they know exactly what you want them to do.
  2. Pay attention and watch closely so you don’t miss their big moment.
  3. Don’t wait for them to arrive at the final destination to give them feedback.
  4. Cheer often and cheer loudly.
  5. Prepare yourself for how you will respond when they are successful—and when they fall down.
  6. When they do fall, tell them they’ll be all right, and get them right back up to try again.
  7. Don’t hold their mishap against them—call it a do-over.
  8. Gradually increase your expectations—but only when they are ready.
  9. Give them opportunities to demonstrate their skills to others once they feel confident.
  10. Be consistent. 

It’s not easy, but taking the time to give the right kind of feedback to your talented Millennials will pay off. It’s how you can develop them, keep them, and turn their talent into performance. 

Download  30 Ways to Turn Talent into Performance

Topics: Talent sales training