Hiring Consultants as surrogate parents
July 1, 2007
Firms in the US are hiring consultants to help them manage “needy” workers. Apparently the Generation Yers are so used to persistent parental praise that they have become a demanding demographic in organisations. NPR has an interesting story on this that’s worth listening to (click here for the download).
What’s fascinating is how “demanding” the 20 somethings appear in the piece. Daily affirmations of a “good job” are a prerequisite for loyalty to the organisation and HR departments are having to invent ways of complimenting workers daily on a job well done when “well done” means doing the job that was meant to be done in the first place. The option of choice appears to be hiring consultants as surrogate parents to ensure adequate ego management.
The NPR story doesn’t take on the real challenge here, which is the degree to which this narcissism is being encouraged and promoted by hiring consultants to assist in the persistent praising. The “no” is missing and it will just fuel incessant and unreasonable demands for “more” that can never be fulfilled.
It reminds me of that great quote from Laurence Oliver who quipped “Dear boy, it’s called acting.” – upon seeing Dustin Hoffman’s “method” acting by not sleeping and making a mess of himself to get into character while shooting “Marathon Man”.
Update: Have a look at Matt’s take on this …