Is it Entitlement? Millennials and Mentorship

Are millennial workers different than the previous younger generation? Are their differences due to the feeling of entitlement, or something more?

Is the current younger generation any different than the previous younger generation?  I used to be part of the younger generation and I was fortunate to receive good mentorship on work ethics.

Take for example the current challenge of millennials who arrive late to work. I had a millennial co-worker who texted me 10 minutes before she was supposed to work and asked me to cover for her. She showed up 2 hours later and never apologized, thanked me or offered an explanation.  I found this quite strange, but just allowing it to happen would be wrong. I took the opportunity to be a mentor – in this case, terminating her!

I have a relative (a hard working millennial himself) in the doughnut business. He sometimes has millennial workers that “forget” to come to work on Saturday mornings – so he engages in proactive mentorship; He called a new hire on their cell phone immediately the first time they are late – informing the employee to get to work now or don’t bother coming in ever again – and he showed up.

If you believe a millennial employee has really great potential, you could invest even more effort in proactive mentorship. Offer to pick them up at their house and drive them to work. This way they get there on time and you can have some quality mentorship conversations during the ride in.

It’s not as much as “entitlement” as it is “letting them get away with it”.  Are these bad habits a result of poor parenting?

I recently heard a shocking example of a millennial worker and their “helicopter parent”. (“Helicopter parents” are overprotective and won’t let their children develop responsibility for fear of them experiencing discomfort.) These parents actually showed up at the job interview and negotiated on behalf of their child!

This happens with grown children in their twenties.

Is this an entitlement problem? – No way; it’s a poor parenting problem. These parents deserve to have their adult children living in their basement and unemployable.

I challenge the “older” generation in the workforce to undertake more proactive mentorship of the millennials. Did you receive mentorship when you started in the workforce? Care to share any examples of your own experiences? Please leave a comment below.

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