business consultant John Silver


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How to handle ungrateful and entitled employees?


Since I started this company, I came across a lot of small business owners who have a common issue in their human resource management, which is how to manage ungrateful and entitled employees.

While coming across an article by MR Mueller, I could completely relate to the experience either through my own HR issues or that of my clients.

As MP Mueller puts it, some employees seem to think they are owed something just for showing up and this is a difficult pill to swallow for owners who put it all on the line every day. I understand that  in the head of the employee, they tend to think that it is normal for the business owners to give their all as it is their business. Yet, some employees fail to step back with maturity and realise that hiring someone for a position in a small business is a tough one as one cannot promise a long term job in a small business and business owners try to compensate by structuring the position, paying a decent paycheck and even adding in perks and benefits all in an attempt to create a ‘familial’ working environment as opposed to big cold corporates who very often do not bother to offer not only perks and benefits but respect and appreciation for the job performed. 

If you listen to the version of the employees, you will notice the mindset as, “ ‘I don’t have to give much but I expect my employer/boss/co-workers will give me something — respect, pay, hold my job even there is a downturn in business, promotions, etc., — just because,’.

Ungrateful and entitled employees as MP Mueller puts it manifest themselves in the following workplace traits: a resistance to feedback, an inclination to overestimate talents and accomplishments, having poor judgments when it comes to running a business, easily insulting and criticizing the small business owners and a tendency to be demanding and overbearing and to blame others for mistakes and little sense of team loyalty. 

I would definitely recommend a more structured recruitment process to filter out from the start this category of employees to the maximum.  The aim is to find prospective employees who most closely match the profile of your company’s most valued employees.

What MP Mueller adds it very interesting and relevant as he goes on ‘I’ve found it helpful when interviewing to get into conversations that have candidates sharing their family roots? Those who grew up in entrepreneurial households — Mom or Dad ran a business or had a professional practice — usually think more entrepreneurially and are more likely to show initiative, understand a volatile business reality and feel less entitled.’

It is also very important to tackle poor performance of entitled employees and try to redress the situation from the start. This will set everyone on the same page and not make the employee live in an illusion that will make them think that they are doing their jobs to the perfection, have nothing to be reprimanded about and especially that they are doing more in their jobs when in reality they are just being asked to do their jobs.