Work is wasted on the young.

The Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania’s annual survey on the state of professionalism among entry-level employees, 2012 Professionalism in the Workplace Study, suggests some startling trends. Chief among them: 1) Managers indicate that younger employees most lack professionalism. 2) Levels of professionalism have declined over the past five years, according to HR respondents (33.1 percent) and managers (21.2 percent). 3) The worst problems noted by managers: a lack of urgency in getting a job done (32.6 percent), a sense of entitlement (27.2 percent), poor performance coupled with a mediocre work ethic (23 percent) and poor attendance (22.2 percent). Perhaps tellingly, less than half of the respondents indicated that they had programs in place to orient new employees to what is considered to be professional behaviors

Rather than lament the loss of work ethic etc in our society which this survey does quite well let’s talk about the under 50% of firms that are actually doing anything to remedy the problem. Wring your hands, complain, long for the good old days…but Lead? I guess not. What we are saying here is that this generation needs leadership. Yes, being a role model and setting an example is a fundamental leader behavior but it is not enough. People don’t always learn by osmosis and observation. Some do learn that way but we all can benefit from a mentor, from training and from an engaged leader. Blame who you will for youth being the way they are but only blame yourself in they work in your firm and you have not had the conversation about the way we do things here.

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