If you haven’t disclosed the details of a drinking binge, blasted music from your cubicle, or taken a mid-meeting nap at work recently, then you’re in better shape than many of the employees at a Fortune 500 healthcare company, where lately some business unit managers have asked the HR department for help teaching what they refer to as Millennial workplace etiquette.
In fact, they are asking for books, training programs, videos, anything to orient Millennial employees to the norms and culture of an organization.
Recently, I was asked a question that I hear pretty often.
Usually the questioner is young, perhaps newly-graduated from school. They’re almost always new to their current job. And I can often hear their frustration when they ask:
Please tell me, how can someone just entering the workforce create change?
Maybe you’re familiar with this question. Do you see a need for change in your organization? Are you frustrated because you can’t get anyone else to see it – much less do something about it? Maybe you’ve just graduated from university and gotten your first job. Or perhaps you’re a veteran worker, but newly-hired. Either way, it seems like a cruel joke.
A prevalent view among older-generation leaders is that Generation Y employees (and some younger Gen X’ers) expect undeserved praise (or promotion, or perks, or some other kind of reward). These leaders feel frustrated, angry, and firmly resolved to “never lower my standards.” There’s a problem here, though, which would indicate that a lot of leaders are stressed-out unnecessarily. When Leadership IQ studied the extent to which people like or dislike working with low performers, we found that 87% of people universally dislike working with low performers. It turns out Gen Y employees hate working with low performers just as much as Baby-Boomers, Traditionalists and the Greatest Generation. This busts the myth that Gen Y employees are all low performers who show up to work expecting something for nothing.