The Attitude of Entitlement and How to Fix It!Stephen J. Blakesley
February 21, 2012 — 2,148 views
Recently, I spoke to a wonderful group of Human Resource executives. The group from the Houston area known as the Bay Area Human Resources Management Association (BAHRMA) met to "sharpen their saws." I was asked to participate and shared my thoughts on Strategic Performance, its value and how to get it.
During the presentation a young lady raised her hand to comment and told of a situation that echoes around our country, today; She told of an attitude of "Entitlement with which they struggle."
The "Big E," as we call it, is when employees express their belief that others and the organization to which they belong, are somehow blessed by their presence. Often there is no evidence supporting their right to a favored state, just a belief in their own minds that they, somehow, deserve special treatment, recognition, pay or all three.
She put it like this; "We are consistently faced with younger employees believing that we (older employees and the company) are somehow fortunate in our association with them.
They come to work late or miss deadlines and believe it to be Okay," she says. "It seems, as if, they believe the organization should be thankful that they decided to come to work, at all."
The Entitlement attitude seems to be more prevalent among younger employees. Our experience has been that many of the Generation Y employees do, somehow, believe that they have a right to a job. A belief, I support, at least in part. I believe that there is work for anyone who wants to work, not necessarily the work you may want, but work from which you can earn a living. That does, somewhat, differ from the Generation Y notion.
So, what can or should you do about an attitude of entitlement, whether it comes from Generation Y employees or elsewhere? We believe that corporate America is in control and if the attitude of Entitlement is an issue, in your company, you can do something about it. Here is what we recommend:
- Clearly state expectations before you hire anyone.
- Get agreement before you hire
- Have a "Zero Tolerance Policy"
- Operate with integrity
Many organizations complain about poor attitudes but shoot themselves in the foot by not being clear about the values of the organization, their expectations of the employee and enforcing their own rules. Organizations should know their values and clearly share them with potential employees, but few do, they should create a "Top Ten Reasons People Work for XYZ Corp.", A Values Statement, and a clear, easy to read statement of expectations in the job a candidate is being asked to fill. Get them to sign and date those documents and keep them as a permanent record that the candidate acknowledged your expectation and agreed to them. That document should go in the employee file. That takes care of item 1 & 2, now lets talk about the rest.
Many organizations want people who have a great attitude, many do not, but it is their own fault. They continue to believe that they can put into someone something that is not there, hire someone that is marginal, and somehow expect superior performance. That seldom occurs. The key to having the right people and attitudes on your bus is hiring excellent people, in the first place and realizing we are all human and make mistakes, sometimes hiring the wrong person. When you hire someone who does not wish to adhere to something they agreed to before the hiring and obviously the wrong person for the job, fire them. That takes care of 3 & 4 above.
Applying these four simple rules will, I guarantee, diminish the number of employees that believe they are entitled to their jobs, but most importantly, send a clear message to the many people in your organization that you value their good work ethics and operate with integrity.
Stephen J. Blakesley, Managing Patner, GMS Talent L P, a Successful Entrepreneur, Marketeer, Author, Radio Show Host, and Speaker. His two, most recent books, "The Target-The Secret to Superior Performance; ( http://www.targetthebook.com ) and Strategic Hiring - Tomorrow's Benefits Today, are top resources for business owners, managers and C-Level executives.
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Stephen J. Blakesley
GMS Talent LP