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Is our generation entitled?

I recently read an article regarding the massive layoffs at Microsoft which resulted with 10,000 employees losing their jobs. What really stuck out for me was a quote made by the former chief people officer at Slack, Nadia Rawlinson. She wrote “After two decades of fighting for talent, chief executives are using this period to adjust for years of management indulgence that left them with a generation of entitled workers.” So, my question is, are we entitled? Or are we just evolving in the workplace?

As an HR professional, I would love to think that employers and employees alike have finally reached a crossroads that just five years ago was almost unthinkable! Recruiting these days consists of reaching that mutual agreement where the company and applicant stand to gain a benefit from each other. On one hand, the employer now has a greater pool of candidates and skilled talent (in large part thanks to the pandemic as they are able to recruit nationwide), while on the other hand, the employee has the flexibility to apply for any job offer nationwide. They also have the advantage that the employer will need to be fair with compensation if they want to stay competitive in the job market and in most cases will promote benefits like flexible working conditions which is considered a must in today's workforce.

The world that we work in today is not the same as three years ago before the pandemic and frankly, I doubt it will ever be the same. For most of my professional career, I have witnessed employers having the upper hand when it came to recruiting a candidate. A few years back, employers had the luxury of turning candidates away if they considered them “job hoppers” and competition was tight as they had an influx of talent waiting for them.

This is no longer the case and candidates know this and are fully taking advantage of the opportunities that the workforce post-pandemic has given them. And I don’t blame them! For the first time, employees are in the driver's seat. When comparing job offers, flexibility is a non-negotiable and employees will rule employers out if they don’t feel listened to. The roles are reversed, and the employee can choose from multiple job offers, job locations, and even negotiate sign-on bonuses. All of this without ever having to step a foot into an office or having to battle the dreaded commute to work. Many have finally gained that home/life balance that they had been longing for without having to miss a minute or work or having to juggle deadlines outside of working hours.

So, going back to my original question, are we really entitled if we are asking for flexibility while working? Or is it that companies are having a hard time adjusting because they no longer have the upper hand? My question for employers is, what is most important to you? A happy workforce or disgruntled employees that once had the opportunity to experience the flexibility and are now restricted and as a result may or may not stay due to strict office policies? We must be able to look at the bigger picture and decide what makes the most sense. After all, employees spend more than one-third of their life at work, if an employer is not willing to evolve and keep up with the post-pandemic lifestyle changes, they will be left behind.

Entitled Generation Blog by Yvette Gonzalez is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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