What do you do when your Gen Y employee, four weeks on the job, asks if she can present her new idea to the board of directors?
You're kidding, right?
Nope. This situation has happened to more than one company supervisor. Many call it Gen Y entitlement.
What not to do
1. Don't allow her to remain in her misunderstanding of how she fits into the company's big picture. Workplace credit requires the fleshing-out-of-character-with-achievement. Many Gen Y have begun this process by getting a degree but, not so much in the real world of work.
2. Don't reschedule her for another hour of orientation about the company rules. This issue is about the unwritten rules of the workplace, those she has likely not yet learned.
3. Don't react by telling her how it was for you when you were new at the company, how you had to wait your turn and the years it took before you even saw a member of the board. This may help you vent your frustration but it doesn't address what you perceive as entitled or, "confidence without credit", credit being recognized position, status or character. Your venting doesn't answer her question.
So, what should you do? Here are 4 tips for what to do.
1. Sincerely thank her for coming up with a new way to get work done. Although a request like this from a new employee can be annoying, you have here a person who wants to help and achieve good things for the company. Focus on that.
2. Request that she put her idea into a proposal with her research, supporting data, references, and perhaps a transition plan for coworkers who most often dislike change. Encourage her to learn more about what is currently in place by talking with coworkers. This can be a fantastic orientation experience and she can get a good grasp of procedures in place and why they are there.
3. Give her the opportunity to substantially contribute. She may have a winning idea for the company. Gen Yers are eager to help and they are creative and connected to current trends. Through faster and cheaper communication, they have different processes for getting work done. If not this idea, perhaps another.
4. Learn about generational differences. There are reasons that Gen Yers do these things and that they frustrate business owners and managers. By understanding your generation and how it fits and clashes with the characteristics of Generation Y, you will know why you are frustrated and what to do about it. If you learn about and understand Gen Yers, they will sense that you care and will be more willing to learn from you. You will be able to communicate in ways that gain their respect and trust.
And, if you understand Gen Yers, you will know how to help them give their best, seeing them less as "entitled" and more as able to increase value for the company with their generation innovation.
Bottom Line, the little time it takes to learn about generational differences has the potential to greatly improve your experience with young Gen Y employees and the quality and level of their work.
And now, I'd like to invite you to claim your free instant access to my white paper, "Workplace Frustration: How to Reduce It and Manage Generation Y For An Increase in Company Profits". For a limited time you'll find it free at my slide-up when you visit http://GenerationalDivideCoaching.com.
From Tinker Barnett, Generational Gap Coaching
"Connecting Generations in the Workplace"