How to Incentivize a Generation that is so Entitled

A common lament among Human Resource managers is the difficulty they have in incentivizing a generation of workers who have long since become accustomed to an entitled lifestyle.  Face it; the generation of today is far removed from the hard-scrabble work force that eked out a financial existence during the Great Depression, or waged war on multiple continents throughout World War Two.

The generation of today grew up enjoying the fruits of those earlier hard won victories.  In a society that celebrates a culture of instant gratification, a corresponding sense of impermanence has been inculcated in this younger generation that makes it difficult to incentivize them.  Developing a corporate incentive program therefore is of critical concern in getting the next generation to buy into the group philosophy of their organization.

Show me the Money…

Historically speaking, money has been the traditional motivator in getting employees on board when it comes to incentivizing them.  While still a strong motivator, money does not have the same sway with the current generation as it has in years past.  The reasons contributing to this fact are up for debate however, the reasons can be as varied as a lack of a materialistic bent in within this age cohort, or rather they place a higher value on other perks associated with full time employment.  Specifically speaking, this current generation of workers will willingly eschew monetary recompense in favor of work place flexibility and a voice at the table when it comes to making decisions for the organization.  As such, Human Resource managers looking to develop a corporate incentive program need to look outside the lines and boxes that they have traditionally operated in.


Generation Y may well be populated by a cohort of malcontents, but they are a cohort that is highly versed in available technologies that allow for no-symmetrical approaches to staffing their office space.  With an employee pool unwilling to toil within the confines of an office cubicle, human resource managers are looking to solutions that will coax in available talent that bristles at the thought of a traditional office setting.  Email, Skype, teleconferencing, and secure channels are the new watchwords for tech savvy employees who are looking for gainful employment, albeit; on their own terms.

Decision Making…

The democratization of the internet has inculcated a sense in people that their every word and thought is worthy of posting and commenting on across a broad audience spectrum.  This impulse has transferred itself into the workplace in the form of junior executives demanding a bigger say in the strategic development of the firm.  Young workers often complain that they would willing forsake monetary payment in favor of having the opportunity to shape the day to day developments of their work environment.  As such, any corporate incentive program should be structured to include a measure of decision making autonomy designed to garner a sense of loyalty among a generation of employees who feel that their opinions are of equal weight to any others on the table.

Jeff is an internet marketing specialist, who in the past primarily worked in the automotive industry, but now has broadened his horizons to other areas. Born and raised in Chicago, he made his way out west to Arizona 8 years ago. When he’s not working, Jeff enjoys spending time with his fiancée, playing with his dogs, hiking, and video games. With the exception of the White Sox, he’s an avid Chicago sports fan. One day he hopes to single-handedly lift the Cubs’ Billy Goat Curse and be able to see a Cubs World Series.