Sit down with any group of senior managers and ask them what is their primary complaint with the youngest workers in their organization. I am willing to bet ( and I am not a betting person, I am lucky if I even play the state Lottery) that the primary complaint will be something of the nature that they do not understand that there are dues to be paid. But take a moment and think back in time and realize you created this monster.
I can go back to the late 60s and find the forerunner of the monster. Think about this– it is 1965 and it was my senior year in High School. I never mention it on a resume but I lettered in track. I never ran a single race. I was the team manager. It was the policy of the school that everyone who was part of the team received the letter. Jump forward to when my kids were getting started in sports on the community soccer team. The policy was that everyone who played got a trophy at the end of the season.
So here is the nature of the monster. Based on the beliefs of some educators and late baby boomer and Generation X parents it was wrong to not place everybody on an even keel. All for one, and one for all attitude became prevalent in our lifestyles. What organizations are now seeing is the offspring of this group enter the workplace. Their first demand is that we are entitled to get that promotion or raise just like every other employee. Do not tell me about paying the corporate dues. I have come to work, done what was asked of me, and now I want that trophy. I want that raise. I want that promotion. Not years from now but in real time in the current time span. We created the monster and now we have to deal with them.
The solution to the dilemma is that we need to accept the reason why the new generation of workers have reasonable demands based on what they have been taught by their parents. We cant change that. However we can work on ways to utilize that energy for greater corporate stability and good. Find ways within your corporate culture to modify the corporate career paths to encompass their feelings of needing to move on up now rather then after the dues are paid. Remember these employees never saw a piece of new technology that they did not like. They quickly pick up how to best utilize the resources. They are the ones that are going to be the leaders/managers/teachers of the organization sooner rather then later. Utilize those skills to enhance your internal processes for the betterment of the entire organization.
We thought we were being helpful. We thought that we were being supportive. We were striving to make our children better community members by showing them the benefits of total team work. Now we have to live with the outcomes and understand on our watch the world has changed. It is up to us and them to decide whether it is for the better world we were seeking.