HR transformation for the new generation in the work force.

AuthorRay, Prantika


As the baby boomers retire from the organizations and the Millennial generation steps in, there is a huge shift in the way the employees appreciate and respond to the organization values and norms. Since each generation has differences in the job expectations and workplace behaviors with the other, the organization faces new challenges to integrate the coming generations into the workforce. There are bound to be speculations and stereotypes about the new generation. Organizations have to manage the issues that arise due to these new challenges. One of the labels that are attached to Millennial generation is "entitled generation". This label is generally carrying a negative connotation of expecting more than what one deserves. Psychological entitlement is the term that has been used in the literature to reflect this feeling of unrealistic expectations and desires (Harvey & Harris, 2010). It is necessary to understand the psychological entitlement of the workplace in order to effectively manage their expectations and behaviors. Psychological entitlement of an individual would influence her/his interaction with boss, clients and colleagues etc. This also affects the internal equity in the organization and perceived justice by the employees. The understanding of the influence of entitled generation in the workplace is useful in designing and implementing organizational policies related to human resource management.

The organizations need to look at three critical functions of HR: recruitment and selection, performance management, and rewards and recognition. Many undesirable issues may arise in the organization hiring the "entitled" recruits who have unrealistic expectations from their employers. Recruitment and selection processes in the organization need to access the level of entitlement and screen out the undesirable ones (Harvey & Dasborough, 2015). Performance management systems (goal-setting, performance assessment and feedback) should be built in such a way that would provide an unambiguous appraisal for the performance. The assessors should keep in mind the various behavioral and technical characteristics of an individual and then appraise her/him. Also, the Generation Y believes rewards and recognition based on the fulfillment of tasks, competencies of the person etc. Also, considered an ambitious generation, they would prefer organizations that would break the chains of tenure-based promotions and move onto work-related rewarding systems. However, further studies are needed to determine, how an entitlement trait in an individual could bring about inflated unrealistic expectations and the methods to deal with the same.

Characteristics of the New Generation

Psychological entitlement has been defined as "the relatively stable tendency toward inflated self-perceptions and unrealistic expectations concerning praise and rewards." (Harvey & Harris, 2010: 1640). Klimchak et al. (2016) have utilized the Huseman et al's (1984) equity sensitivity literature and grouped the equity sensitives and entitleds into one category and have studied the psychological entitlement in that context. Huseman et al's (1984) entitleds and equity sensitives were respectively defined as the ones who expect a high outcome to input ratio and the ones who are said to feel contented when they find that they and the others have the same outcome to input ratio. The entitleds prefer to be on the receiving end than on the giving end, which in other words would mean they expect to be over-rewarded in all contexts irrespective of the amount of effort they put in the job (Huseman, 1984). This behavior would be irrespective of the context and the environment the individual is in. Though in some studies psychological entitlement has been considered to branch out of the narcissism trait of an individual (Campbell et al., 2004), but there have been other studies that have spoken about the relatedness rather than causality relation between narcissism and entitlement (Klimchak, 2016). In addition, Stronge et al. (2016) have shown that high self-esteem is not the sufficient condition for high entitlement.

Implications Psychological Entitlement

According to Naumann et al. (2002), employee entitlement has been talked of in terms of compensation, that is, financial outcomes and other tangible benefits. Despite receiving rewards and praise for their inputs in the job, the entitled employees feel they have not received the fair share of rewards and recognition and remain dissatisfied with the job (Robinson, 2007). Also, the inflated sense of entitlement makes the employees cynical about the performance analysis tools, training needs etc. If there are entitled members in a group, there could be cases where the entitled individual has a tendency of free-riding and thus disrupt the overall group-dynamics. Entitled individual often prefer jobs that have immediate returns and often avoid picking up tasks where the results take a longer time to surface or where their efforts would translate to comparatively smaller returns. Most employees would thus avoid taking up developmental activities as the activities have little/no returns for the employee and they would prefer to invest their efforts and time on something where the chances to procure praise and rewards are more pronounced. Also, the entitled employees often consider putting lesser efforts in the job and therefore there is also an increased absenteeism, late arrivals at the office, missing of deadlines etc. The dissatisfied individuals often create an environment of tension in the organization which further aggravates into inter and intra-team clashes and disrupts the normal functioning of the organization. This feeling of dissatisfaction in the other individuals due to the changes in the organizational dynamics often translated into turnover intentions and the organization ends up losing out on valuable employees. Figure 1 shows the HR Transformation Model for the new generation.

New Generation

The Generation Y, also called the Millennial generation (those born in the 1980s to early 1990s) are about to take up positions in the organization and according to studies, by 2020 they would be occupying a little less than half of the workforce (Brack, 2012). As they enter the workforce it becomes very crucial that one is clear about the expectations of the Millennial generation and their tentative behaviors in the workplace to be able to design a better place for them to work.

Expectations of the Millennial Generation

Accountability: Felt accountability has been defined by Hall et al. (2003:.33) as "an implicit or explicit expectation that one's decisions or actions will be subject to evaluation by some salient audience(s) with the belief that there exists the potential for one to receive either rewards or sanctions based on this expected evaluation". According to the study done by Laird, Harvey & Lancaster (2015), the...

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