Millennials are not always the problem
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
It is always the younger generation's fault. But if you think about it, that means at one point it was our fault — and we know that cannot be the case.
Yet there is something about the challenges of working with employees who were raised on iPads and told they were great at everything. What is the issue, and how do we properly deal with the entitlement of millennials?
They can be president
If you are told over and again you can be and do whatever you want, you might begin to believe it. Similarly, if you are given the opportunity to voice your opinion and take a role in the direction of your life at a young age, you will likely continue to expect the same treatment as you get older.
For many in the younger generations in the workforce today, it boils down to expectations. They expect clear communication, and they expect consequences. For example: If you do this, then you get this.
This sounds simple and like something we can all agree to; the problem is the underlying rules that govern the different generations. In the older generations at work, there is a general belief that a level of respect should accompany a title or position. Many of the younger generations do not have this operating belief.
Since they were children, they have been told their opinions are important, and they should stand up for themselves. If something is not right, do — or tweet — something about it. And best of all, many show up at work like the employer is there to help them and not the other way around. Thus, it is understandable why they may have a different understanding of how to interact between and among the generations.
The most common place this plays out is communication challenges around work environment. Work ethic, work hours, feedback and brainstorming are all areas where the communication between the generations can break down easily.
First this, then that
We have all heard complaints about the apparent entitlement of the younger generations — they believe they deserve raises all the time and could run the company better than the CEO.
The thing is, supervisors and managers tell them they will get a raise if they do good work. So they do good work and come back and expect the raise, even if it is only three months after they started. Similarly, the CEO tells them their opinion matters, and he has an open door and wants to hear it. So they go tell the CEO what he is doing wrong and how they would do it differently.
The bottom line is, they listen to what is said and expect followthrough. Combine that with the variance in operating beliefs noted above, and it is clear why this generation seems to be so entitled.
To get through these communication challenges, everyone needs to make the effort to be clear about what is expected, including timeline and any variables that could affect the outcome. Further, nothing is too basic to be discussed. Hierarchy, roles and how they affect outcomes need to be specifically spelled out. And finally, rules of discourse need to be outlined.
Understanding that nothing is obvious anymore and thus everything needs to be spelled out to really ensure all staff are on the same page is a great step forward in getting multiple generations to work together.
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