More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

Do Partners Need to ‘Parent’ Their Younger Employees?

December 29, 2009

An interesting blog post came to my attention the other day – one that claims that more experienced staff need to “parent” the younger professionals within a firm. (Insert groan here).

Now, I’m not saying there’s no truth in what Melinda Guillemette is saying on her blog, Melinda Motivates I do think it’s the partners' and more experienced staff's responsibility to mentor their newbies, but to parent?

“How many times did you teach the same lessons over and over, to your own children … it’s no different in the workplace. You have to give clear, consistent instruction … At some point, there have to be consequences for non-productive behavior as it is defined by your organization’s leadership,” she writes.

Yes to clear, consistent construction, but no to parenting and no to coddling. It's patronizing.Treat younger staff like the adults that they are and you are more likely to get an adult response. If they're on their phone texting or using Facebook – who cares? Are they getting their work done? Are they present in the office? If they are not up to speed on the firm's culture or need some tips on being more professional, set a good example by illustrating that culture and those policies yourself.

And while yes, partners can and should teach their up and comers what they know, parenting is a whole different ballgame.

What do you think?

Comments (2)
I agree, mentoring is a better use of terms. New generation employees will see through "parenting" and hit the freakin' road eventually (which they should do).

Sounds like an issue of management's leadership abilities, not the "children" that work there.

Jason M. Blumer, CPA
Posted by JasonMBlumerCPA | Sunday, January 03 2010 at 11:51PM ET
I think the real issue is to "mentor" rather than "parent."

Parents are not their children's friends - they are what I call "benevolent dictators." Mentors, on the other hand, should understand firm culture and the environment in order to nurture their mentees to thrive.

Helicopter parents tend to measure their children by overachievement. In the workplace, however, success isn't measured by the amount of overtime an employee puts in; it's measured by the ROI the firm realized by its employees in their engagements.

Yes, you have to give clear, consistent instruction, but there's so much more to helping an employee realize his or her potential.
Posted by scytron | Wednesday, December 30 2009 at 10:30AM ET
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