What to do with the parents

In many discussions with the experts on Generation Y, stories have come up about the mom who called her son's boss because her son got a bad performance review. Seriously? Alas, it is true. Gen-Y may be made up of young adults who have been told everyday they are perfect, and with that comes the parents. This is a tricky concept to understand because there is a link between Gen-Y and the parental generation. And yet in the office, parental involvement "is just not done." How do managers cope with the new hire's parents when they themselves want to make a call on their own children’s' behalf? The tough love message can't just be, "Cut the umbilical cord already." That signifies that this is a one party issue. But it isn't. Gen-Yers seek more guidance from parental figures than ever before. And this does include aunts and uncles, neighbors and spiritual leaders. The term parent has been adjusted in meaning, so the involvement of these important figures is changing as well. It is more a question of what is appropriate. Example: A father works for his son's dream company. Is it appropriate for the father to talk with HR to help the son get a job? That might be a tricky line to walk. Let's change the scenario... Example Two: A former colleague of a young man's father works at said dream company. The father isn't even associated with the company. Can the father ask the colleague to guide his son and potentially provide him with a job opportunity? Many would call that networking. Is it the emotional investment of a parental relationship that is causing the trouble, or is it the acts themselves? I do agree that parents have no role in performance reviews. We aren't being called to the principal's office anymore, and we don't need a note from our mom to miss work. The first performance review can often be a good indicator of being able to handle critique. Why turn into one of those American Idol Audition train wreck’s in the office? In many instances, a discussion of expectations should take place early. While perhaps singling people out may not be appropriate, many offices are having "Understanding the Generations" workshop. A simple exercise about the Mom Who Came to the Office on a Mission might be helpful. HR Departments could also pull together guidelines that are in the employee on boarding plan. Companies do need to also indicate what is appropriate and what isn't. Since the balance of networking requires respect of personal relationships, there is a need to understand those relationships and how they fit into the workplace. And older generations who hear these stories can then know perhaps that their children should begin to fight their own battles. Young employees will have the opportunity to grow to their full potential if they are doing it on their own. When appropriate, mentors can provide necessary support. Because no one wants to be "that guy" who's dad thought the judges were full of %#$*, why bring that to work?

 

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