You're almost afraid to say it, but something about your new employee gets on your nerves. You hired this person because he seemed to be the best in the group, the standout with a solid career behind him. However, now that you're working with him, it seems like he asks for a little too much. Could it be that you're working with an entitled employee? If so, what do you do now?
What is an Entitled Employee?
While everyone likes to feel special upon occasion, some people want to feel special all the time. According to SF Magazine, entitlement is "a stable and pervasive sense of deservingness—in other words, the sense that one has a right or claim to rewards, assistance, attention, or special treatment." Entitled employees feel like they deserve more simply because they are the person they are, and they do not link this to their achievements.
This can be a problem for managers. According to Entrepreneur, "Entitled employees have unjustified positive opinions about their talents and contributions, feel deserving of things they haven’t earned, and even see their supervisors as abusive." If you have an entitled employee at your insurance agency you know this can be a problem. That person resents you from the beginning. Entitled employees ask for more and more, even though they're still learning the position and are making many mistakes. They may not deserve a promotion, but they'll feel resentful if you don't notice their outstanding contributions. An entitled employee can bring discord to the office by placing himself/herself above others or complaining about your inability to see his/her stellar qualities.
How to Manage an Entitled Employee
While entitlement might seem to be the domain of the selfie and texting generation, it can be a problem that arises in any employee. The question for managers is how to solve this challenge since it can create discord in the office environment, a sour feeling for insurance clients who walk in the door, and a poor relationship between you and the employee.
What can you do?
Entitled people want to go their own way, but they also have a strong desire to find the approval of others. They do well in an environment where they have some autonomy in their position and where they receive feedback from those whom they see as above them in the hierarchy at work. They do well when they are given opportunities to show that they can excel, as long as they are given expectations and asked to meet or exceed them.
Be clear about what good work really looks like. If your employee is asking for a raise or a promotion because of excellent results, make sure that you set out metrics that allow you to actually measure those results. That way, you can base your decisions on those results, rather than each individual's statement of merit. Provide rewards when anyone exceeds those targets, and don't reward people just because they ask for it.
Focus on the atmosphere that you want your employees to create rather than the importance of each individual. At your insurance agency, you want to be professional, highly-competent, yet empathetic to your clients and understanding of their needs. Make sure that your employees know that type of atmosphere is the goal – not just one individual's contributions.
Avoid setting up unrealistic expectations. If you set a trend a few years in a row, your employees will expect you to continue. For instance, if one person gets promoted in June of each year, then your employees may think that will continue and vie for the opportunity. Instead, be less consistent about the rewards that you give, and link them more to company milestones and the achievement of company goals rather than a specific time of the year.
When all else fails, consider finding a new person for the position. An employee that is consistently bringing a poor attitude to the team could impact your customer service.
Are you trying to find the right people to fill your insurance jobs? Talk with American Agents Alliance. With networking opportunities and our agency hiring services, we'll help you find the right employees for your insurance agency. Contact us today.