Are Gen Yers getting a bad reputation in the workplace? There seems to be two sides of the story – as you find in most situations.

Last week, I was interviewed in the Democrat & Chronicle on how organizations should rethink feedback in the workplace with the Gen Yers. Receiving feedback on a more frequent basis has been a best practice trend for several years, why would this be a hot button.

It seems to be a straightforward request…until I went to a meeting the other night.

“You were in the Democrat & Chronicle on Sunday,” a fellow woman executive said to me.

“Yes. The article was about Gen Yers and how the traditional performance review process may not meet their need for more frequent feedback”, I said.

“Ah, yes” she says, “they need to grow up. The Gen Yers are looking for instant gratification. They are used to getting everything right away. In fact, my daughter was talking to me about it the other day. She is 32 and told me she is experiencing generational differences in the workplace! She has already had an encounter with a helicopter parent.”

As the story goes…the daughter manages a large group of people. She takes people development seriously and is spreading her time too thinly. Why, because the new hires (20’s) are requiring constant feedback or “atta girls or boys” for the slightest task performed. It is tiring, even for a 32 year old.

In one instance, one of her employees fails to meet some assignment deadlines. During the performance review, the assessment clearly outlines the lack of discipline and results reflecting a poor rating. A few days later, her daughter receives a phone call from the employee’s parent.

“You can’t give my son this review, it has to be changed” the parent says. “My son has always received the highest marks when he was in school. There must have been something wrong for him to get this kind of rating.”

“Yes, there is something wrong. Your son did not complete the project on time. He needs to step up and hold himself accountable for poor work quality. The rating is not changing,” says the daughter.

It seems there are other cases of helicopter parenting, especially in the education system. The executive tells me situations where parents call their kid’s college level professors to negotiate or influence a change in grade.  The parents do not even reside in the state, yet provide excuses why the student was unable to complete the homework or fails the test. Are we teaching the right lessons?

Now, I understand the helicopter parent – the one who hovers over their child and manages their life being protective and minimizing failures. Need more examples: click here and here and here and finally here.

Understand the consequences – if your parent intercedes in the workplace, it demonstrates your inability to be accountable for your own actions. Organizations have a relationship with you, not your parents. They expect that you can function independently and know how to learn from failure.

If you need their advice, do it privately – that is what I did.