Skip to content
December 13, 2010 / W. Stanton Smith

Let’s stop coddling gen y!

Gen Y expects to be coddled; so say 40% of the 50 or so HR executives in a poll taken during a recent webinar I conducted on behalf of the Boston College Center for Work & Family.  The poll asked participants to choose one of five irritating qualities of gen y. The choices and responses were: ask too many questions (0%); don’t act appropriately in business (20%); unwilling to pay their dues (20%); don’t understand the need for process (20%) and expect to be coddled in the workplace (40%).

I’m sure if we were to ask small business owners and coporate executives, the result would be well north of 50%. One executive praised my newest book, Decoding Generational Differences: Changing your mindset…Without losing your mind...but really believed that it was the job of young people in the workplace to adapt to whatever and however the employer served up the workplace.  Any behavior by managers other than this take no hostages approach  was considered coddling. No further discussion required.

Say no to coddling! OK, but what are we saying yes to?

With this unbending attitude fresh on my mind, I thought I’d look up the definition of  “coddling”. Most dictionaries would agree that a reasonable definition of coddling is to treat with extreme or excessive care and attention There is a connotation of spoiling and indulging, of losing perspective.

Of course nobody wants to “coddle” if this is what it means. But is it coddling to teach someone how to act appropriately in business? or to show them the value of paying dues or the need for process and following it? Further, is allowing an inexperienced employee to stumble around in the dark and calling it OJT, really an intellignet business approach? Is ignoring ways in which the workforce has fundamentally changed really smart business?

We’ll explore these and related questions in subsequent posts. In the meantime ponder this saying attributed to the economist John Maynard Keynes, “I change my mind if the facts change. What do you do?

About these ads

One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. W. Stanton Smith / Feb 10 2011 10:16 am

    I believe that the baby-boomer fears are real but unnecessary. Gen y is looking to be mentored and want to do things right. But what they don’t want is to be talked to in a condescending manner or expected to know how to act in business, for example, when no one has taken the time to show them. Some boomers appear to think that showing young people the ropes, so to speak, is “coddling”. I certainly don’t agree with that sentiment. There is no reason to fear the future if everyone does their job, i.e., boomers teach gen y how to work and how to be professionals and gen y learns from the boomers and also reverse mentors boomers on how to use technology more effectively.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: