Across the country college students — all millennials – are starting a new year – freshman, excited about all that college represents – independence (sort of), community, fun, studying what they want to study, to seniors, now looking at entering the “real world” in less than a year. And along with the constant movement of 18-23 year olds (I’d love to see that time-lapsed video) comes countless – I tried – articles and blog posts for and about parents of college students.
How Helicopter Parents are Ruining College Students, No, Helicopter Parents Aren’t Ruining Kids After All, 11 Things To Know Before Sending Your Kids Off To College , I could go on…and on.
I don’t have a child in college (yet), but I employ college students and recent graduates, and our clients employ even more of them. And from this perspective I have one plea for parents (and college kids too) – don’t negotiate for better grades. Grade inflation is one of the biggest disservices the university system does for its students. More evidence on grade inflation here…it’s overwhelming. When the most common grade at an Ivy League is an A-, and when students at most competitive schools in the country are allowed to drop courses the day before the semester ends without consequence or reflection on the transcript, schools are setting their students up for failure in the workplace.
Why? Because when those students get to the workplace, they expect to be able to negotiate for work output quality. If I had it in me, I’d figure out the impact to the US economy on productivity caused by grade inflation, and business’ inability or reluctance to deal with it in the workplace.
As Ed, a GM of an international software company said to me while I was researching for my book Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at Work told me: “I think the millennials in my office are super bright, super capable. But, I don’t think my younger colleagues have an appreciation for mastering a skill or task. I get a lot of ‘Well, it’s good enough’ and ‘Why isn’t it good enough’ and ‘Let me tell you why it’s good enough’ — and sometimes just do the work myself instead of really showing them why it’s not and how to actually finish a task to satisfaction.”
Lots of managers shared the same sentiment. “Nothing gets done right.” “The quality isn’t there.” “I dread the argument over why the assignment still isn’t finished”…and so on.
And by not addressing it, we’re just prolonging the phenomena. So managers, don’t assume that people (of any age) understand your standards or expectations. Stop saying “they should know…” Lower your expectations of what new hires know, take the bull by the horns and lay out your expectations early and often, like voting in Chicago. Take these 5 steps for all new hires.
And students – STOP negotiating for grades. Worry about your real performance, don’t worry about other students. Parents, don’t negotiate for your kids at school around grades — or much else – you are doing your kids a disservice.