Lies, Sabotage and Ethics

Have you ever been lied to? How did it make you feel? Stop for a minute and let that feeling sink in. It doesn’t feel so good, does it?

Millennials are more likely to lie than older generations to their employers and sabotage their co-workers

What if I told you a recent survey of millennials indicated they are twice as likely as their older counterparts to consider and violate company policies. It’s fair to say that millennials’ sense of workplace rules is more a “shade-of-gray” than “right and wrong.” Their attitude toward ‘stretching the truth’ covers lying about why they took a sick day (they weren’t sick but called in sick) to using social media during work hours and taking credit for a colleague’s work product. The survey also indicated they would sabotage a colleague if it looked like there would be layoffs.

It appears from the survey, that because the demarcation line between home, work and leisure is becoming more blurred they didn’t feel they were “really” lying. Millennials felt (more so than older workers) if employers could intrude on their private life – contacting or emailing them in off-hours and expecting a response then what was wrong with them taking a few minutes each day to catch up on their private life? As hours increase the Modern Workplace has become a battleground – each person for themselves according to this Jobvite survey. Modern Workplace

Some of these are very gray areas and I can see both sides of the argument. Except that one about taking credit for a colleague’s work product.

The survey authors feel the disconnect revolves around the fact that millennials are not as ‘loyal’ to their employers as older generations are. Possibly because they are looking to their employers to enhance their whole life, so unless they are working for a company they genuinely care about, it just becomes another job.

The survey touches on how Ethical training must be applicable to the millennial generation. Companies can no longer take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to training. The authors of the survey note employers need to accept that they need to tweak their ethical training so millennials will be more receptive to the training you are giving them.

It sounds like companies need to completely switch their standard way of rolling out employee initiatives. Yep – even a gray hair like myself can tell you some of the compliance training will put you to sleep. Let’s not blame the millennials for your boring training. Don’t forget generation Z right around the corner.

I’d like to button this up all neat and tidy but it’s a little bit of a messy situation. If you want employees, millennials or other wise to be honest, you’ll need to deal with them honestly. I always recommend starting your employer, employee relationship off on the right foot during the on-boarding process.

Hiring managers should share with new hires, how they expect them to operate under the company umbrella. Discuss during the on-boarding process how you like to be communicated with and ask new hires what ways they would like you to communicate with them.

It’s all about setting expectations – set them early and often. None of us is going to stop employees from lying but you can make them stop and think twice before they do if you have laid the ground work from day one. After all, lies are lies. 

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