Employee Entitlement Attitudes and Generation Y in the Workplace

Category: Employees

by Jude Carter

Are you finding an increase in workers with an entitlement mentality in your workplace? This trait seems to be more prevalent with Gen Y workers as they graduate from college and join the workforce. (Perhaps all those Little League trophies given to the whole team have now come back to haunt us.)

A recent study from the University of New Hampshire* shows that employees with a sense of entitlement have overblown views of their abilities and the recognition they should receive. Some of the telltale signs include:
· Expectation of preferential treatment, regardless of performance
· Resistance to negative feedback
· Low job satisfaction levels
· Conflicts with supervisors and coworkers
· Taking credit for work they didn’t do

So, what’s a manager to do? In a situation like this, communication is one of the most powerful tools that can help to clarify expectations and convey performance progress.
· Frequent feedback that is specific and performance-based will help to set the stage and ward off inaccurate perceptions or expectations
· Clarification on organizational structure and who is responsible for what should help reinforce individual and departmental responsibilities.

Ironically, the study points out that in extreme cases of entitlement, increased communication can backfire, causing the employee to feel more frustrated – especially if the supervisor’s assessments aren’t in line with those of the worker.

Paul Harvey, assistant professor of management at UNH suggests that employers screen potential hires for “signs of entitlement” by asking questions such as, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers, and if so, why?” If the answer to the first part is yes with no explanation as to why, that could be a red flag. At a time when we really need strong teamwork, there’s not room for entitlement attitudes.

*Source: Human Relations, June 28, 2010

Jude Carter
September 15, 2010

Popular Posts

Get a Free Digital Signage Demo A Free 10 Minute Online Demo of the Marlin Electronic Communication Station

Find out just how simple and effective digital signage can be for your workplace communications.

Tell us what you want to do, and we’ll customize your demo on the fly.

  • Experience the simple user interface.
  • See how easy it is to post documents.
  • View industry specific content created by Marlin.
  • Learn how to manage users and content with ease.
  • Learn about enterprise networking tools.
  • Get ideas for your digital signage network.
  • See digital signage in action with a dynamic mix of content.