Did you know entitled Millennials actually boost benefits for business?
Is feeling or even “being” entitled a bad thing? Many have labelled young people (Gen Y and Gen Z who are young people born after 1980 and frequently referred to as Millennials) as the entitled generation. Furthermore, this description is used as a “whip” not as an attribute that could result in the unleashing of divergent thinking and ultimately innovation to boost the workplace. This article is an invitation to explore exactly how these feelings of entitlement actually can boost real benefits for business.
Who fits where within the generations?
Let’s reiterate the four generations increasingly found in workplaces, with reference to Hudson’s report entitled The Great Generational Shift – their definition is that you reside in:
- Baby Boomers if born between 1946 and 1964
- Gen X when born between 1965 and 1979
- Gen Y when born between 1980 and 1994
- Gen Z if born after 1995.
Stop judging each other and putting labels on foreheads
The reality of this multi-generational situation is that some people’s ages are separated by half a century in current workplaces, and this is massive when you step back and think about it. Reading Hudson’s report and various articles when researching this interesting topic it is fascinating to note how quickly and easily people have been jumping to the “poor conclusions” and insights rather than thinking the best of each generation.
Most business people readily acknowledge there are entitled millennials who are less than ideal employees. However, we challenge this is the same for every demographic within any organisation – what about the Baby Boomers who have taken control with a sense of earned entitlement as leaders in the workforce using the far more traditional styles of power and control type leadership?
So the first challenge being faced if we actually want to free all generations (and genders) to perform at their best and accordingly boost business performance is to stop judging each other and putting labels on each other that encourage divisive behaviour and attitudes.
Entitlement can actually be a good thing for the workplace
Upon deeper analysis of the plethora of research about generations in the workplace there is evidence to positively substantiate that being “entitled” can bring benefits, it is just not always reported by others this way because it is far more newsworthy to “bash” Millennials.
Let’s start by acknowledging Millennials are the entitled generation. Secondly let’s acknowledge they arrive at work this way because they have been raised and educated by earlier generations to believe it is possible to work somewhere where they can:
- Bring and have a sense of engagement with their employer
- Report to a direct line manager who exhibits engaging leadership qualities
- Be empowered to find effective ways to complete tasks
- Contribute to improving their team
- Expect strong and collaborative communication
- Strive to innovate and continually challenge the current status quo
- Think conceptually and in a socially responsible way about the future.
Lastly when we look at the real nature of this sense of entitlement as defined in the seven points above, we can start to see these things are positive and constructive and could truly disrupt the current status quo and change business cultures. Surely these are things that each generation would benefit from and could better realise their true potential?
Interesting insights into how to realise the potential from each generation
If we shift from our myopic focus on Millennials and encourage existing leaders to look rather for ways to realise the potential from each individual no matter their generational classification, then we have leaders with a true focus on high performance.
Hudson’s report discloses interesting statistics vital for existing leaders to heed if they want Millennials empowered to boost benefits for the business – like realising Gen Y are:
- 27% more people oriented than Baby Boomers
- 32% more ambitious than Baby Boomers
- 12% more conceptual and abstract in their thinking than Baby Boomers.
Within this report it is also fascinating to realise the Baby Boomers can continue to boost benefits when they learn better mentoring skills and are encouraged to leave a strong legacy within the business because they outrank Gen Y by being:
- 28% more decisive than Gen Y
- 34% more oriented toward “leading” than Gen Y
- 21% more persuasive than Gen Y.
Its really quite simple – stop judging and start leveraging what each generation DOES bring. The forgotten generation (Gen X) are becoming the natural diplomats forming the bridge between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. The report reveals Gen X are:
- 13% more ambitious than the Baby Boomers
- 12% more strategic than Gen Y
- 14% more people oriented than Baby Boomers (females only).
Five focal areas for strengthening the leadership capability to boost benefits
Let’s stop paying out on any of the generations – especially The Millennials, businesses cannot afford to continue investing recruitment spend as young people continue to remain for two years or less before they choose to leave. Rather invest the funding and the energy within the business to strengthen leadership capability across all generations.
What is truly going to boost the performance and quarterly operational results of any business is that everyone can lead:
- Themselves with courage and authenticity
- Upwards using influence, empathy and a willingness to develop the kind of trust that enables challenging conversations
- Peers with trust, vulnerability and a desire to complete not compete when working for the same goal
- Team members with transparency, collaborative intentions and a willingness to be challenged
- The business in such a way to consistently challenge the status quo and encourage learning and change agility in each individual they interact with.
Start a conversation within your business about what is currently being done to strengthen leadership capability to boost the potential and exponential benefits possible. Use the data in this article to put this critical HR issue at the forefront of your organisation’s decisions.
Written by MANDY HOLLOWAY, CEO and Co-Founder Courageous Leaders
Starting my career as an audit cadet in one of the large accounting firms I aspired to partnership and am thrilled to say I became the first female partner in PKF Australia and the first partner to take paid maternity leave at KPMG Sydney. Many “firsts” in my career drove my need to be courageous – to stand up for what I believed in and engage in conversations that drove fear into the very essence of my being. Developing my own Intellectual Property for what it takes to be a courageous leader of self, of others and of your business – means I have for the last 20 years passionately and ambitiously developed the leadership capability of Corporate Australia – working with teams in companies like The Iconic, APRA, Sanitarium, Pandora, Bayer, Countplus, APP and WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff.