Entitlement Mentality

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Entitlement Mentality

What is it? How does it happen? How to overcome it in the workplace?
by Luanne Ramsey

Last month, we took a look into what employee engagement looks like and what steps to take as HR leaders to arrive with a happy, committed workforce. We explored how costly a disenchanted workforce can be.

This article will focus on employee entitlement. If the malignancy exists in your organization, you won’t have to look too far to determine whether your workforce is behaving in a “culture of entitlement.”

Workers with an entitlement mentality have a pervasive “What have you done for me lately?” motto. When things are out of balance, there is a resounding feeling of expectation for more. This situation seems to run rampant in organizations with robust employee offerings.

We created an overindulged workforce by trying to make our companies the most attractive to work for, to become the employer of choice. What happened next is unsurprising. We nurtured the expectation of “more”. “More what?” you ask. Frankly, more rights, more perks, more salary and so on. The feeling that persists is one of “I deserve” or perceived “I need.” The entitled workforce registers many more complaints about “treatment” or lack of bestowed benefits, no matter what they are.

This is in glaring opposition to performance. It all goes back to what we learned as children: With reward comes accountability and responsibility. Take a look at the state of the union with large corporate CEO salaries and bonuses for executives-they were “granted” despite performance. Now, we are all experiencing this “greed,” led in large part to the current threats to our economic conditions.

So how do we redirect or find the antidote to this division of shareholder responsibility, and what is perceived as need or loss? It’s a simple equation, really. We must provide multiple vehicles to allow our employees to show gratitude for what they already receive.

Create a simple newsletter or personal card from a leader to highlight their accountability and endurance, and emphasize that their priorities are in the right place.
Highlight performance and outcomes publicly. In doing so, we are “teaching” our workforce about merit. Merit rewards instill higher productivity. Workers that understand this reward system typically see value in giving to the company and not the other way around.
Ask employees to share their stories of how a particular offering or benefit helped them get through a difficult time or brightened their day.
Hold employee forums or town hall meetings, where leaders from various business units identify a grateful employee. Have that employee relate their story during the meeting.
Don’t be shy; make a laundry list for employees to review in terms of the perks/benefits offered. Everyone needs a reminder at times to just how “good” they have it.
Good Luck!

Luanne Ramsey is the Business Development Manager for The Rosen Group. Luanne came to The Rosen Group in February 2008 with a unique background as both a staffing and human resources professional. She has nine years of experience in the global staffing industry–including experience as a Senior Recruiter, Staffing Manager, Branch Manager, and Business Development and Sales Manager. A seasoned HR Professional, Luanne has held leadership roles from Generalist, Employee Relations, and HR Manager to Business Partner for Global Medical, Pharmaceutical Organizations.

© 2009, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.