Posing at the Bean

Regardless of whether I’m training, coaching or consulting, I regularly hear the same complaint about Millennials in the workforce: They’re so entitled. Though initially I jumped on the bandwagon (I’m a Generation Xer happy to no longer be the easy target for generational sniping) I’ve begun asking employers what these younger workers are doing to earn the entitled label.

In a nutshell, I’m essentially told they are spoiled brats who expect prizes for showing up, sulk when they’re not properly fêted, and presume raises and advancement are just around the corner.

Currently, Millennials make up over fifty percent of the workforce. So how do we navigate this sea of entitled laborers?

  1. Realize that most employees, regardless of their age, want the same thing. Snarky language aside, Millennials have been criticized as being entitled for wanting to feel valued, appreciated and recognized for their work.

    Guess what? Time and time again, surveys show employees – regardless of the generation from which they hail – identify ‘full appreciation for work done’ as what they want most from their jobs. So, essentially, the main difference between Millennials and their older brethren is that Millennials are more vocal about what they want from their employers.

  2. Use Millennials’ feedback as a bellwether for employee engagement organization-wide. Millennials are more vocal. Perhaps it’s an inherent trait or perhaps it’s because they’ve had fewer life experiences to trample their enthusiastic idealism. Regardless, it would behoove employers to recognize that feedback is valuable.

    The majority of unmotivated employees were motivated once and have become demotivated over time. Use Millennials’ comments and criticisms as a way to gain insight and tap into motivational opportunities to avoid the silent slip into demotivation.

  3. Leverage Millennials’ motivation and engagement through coaching. How? Ask them what they want. It may not be possible to offer raises and promotions, but remember it’s a sense of recognition and appreciation Millennials are seeking and there are many (free) ways to provide it.

    You can be upfront about what employees can expect in terms of increased compensation or status and, at the same time, you can show them that you’re interested in their professional development by asking what it would take to make them feel good about their jobs. Telling them when they’re doing well, coaching them when they’re off-track and providing opportunities to develop their skills are all ways to keep Millennials productive and motivated.

Just make sure to do the same for every other generation in your workplace. They may not be vocal about it, but they want the same things.



Behind every great organization is a well-trained staff. Hundreds of employers rely on Cascade’s proven soft skills training to achieve performance improvement and personal success for their managers, supervisors, and employees.

Get your training line-up reserved now for the whole school year! We recommend early registration for these top five programs:

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In March of 2016, Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1532, enacting the nation’s first geographically-tiered minimum wage law. Effective July 1, 2016, the law increases minimum wage levels over a six-year period. It will impact more than 100,000 low income workers throughout Oregon in its first year.

One concern employers have over Oregon’s new minimum wage law, is its ability to cause wage compression. Wage compression arises when employees have small differences in pay, regardless of their experience, education, skills, or seniority. Wage compression in an organization can decrease employee morale, a leading contributor to productivity and profitability loss.

Planning ahead is critical when tackling wage compression issues:

  1. Evaluate Your Current Pay Levels and Pay Structure
    Perhaps the July 1,2016 minimum wage increase did not affect your pay grades significantly, but don’t forget that these are annual adjustments moving forward (at least through 2022). Plan ahead and evaluate how the adjustments in 2017, 2018, 2019 (and so on) will impact your current structure.
  2. Compare Minimum Wage Increases to Your Pay Grades
    Your pay grade adjustments will most likely increase at a lower rate than the annual minimum wage over the next 6 years. Calculate projected adjustments to your pay grades from 2016 to 2022, then compare each of those years to identify any instances of wage compression
  3. Plan Accordingly
    Discuss any wage compression findings with your executive team and decide how to best address these situations. One option may be to increase the adjustment percentage for select pay grades throughout an extended duration to absorb the increases gradually. Another option may be to wait and adjust the pay grades in accordance with the minimum wage law at the time of compression. Regardless of the action chosen, having a plan established will lessen the likelihood of wage compression occurring.

If your organization would like assistance establishing and developing formal compensation practices, or you simply have questions, our compensation team is here to help. Please contact us at 503.585.4320 or email Carey at cklosterman@cascadeemployers.com or Courtney at clecompte@cascadeemployers.com.



Park Kitchen

How much do you tip when you go out to eat? Let me introduce you to one of the first Portland-area restaurants to embrace the gratuity-free concept. Did you know…

  1. Park Kitchen of Northwest Portland was started in 2003 by Scott Dolich after he cashed in on his long-held desire to become a doctor and began studying at the Culinary Institute of America. After setting down roots in some of the newest and most exciting restaurants in Portland, Scott soon realized the City’s culinary landscape was the place for him.
  2. “One House,” a sustainable staffing and compensation model, was created by Dolich in an effort to meet the needs of his staff, the expectations of his guests, and the economic forces challenging the restaurant industry. His staff are trained as both cooks and servers with rotating responsibilities. They all know first-hand how the meal was prepared and often will have taken part in its creation.
  3. gratuity-freeA second phase of One House began on July 1, 2016, with the restaurant posting a “Gratuity Free” logo (at right) to signal guests that they should not expect any other charges, including service fees, above the posted menu price. Overall menu prices increased by 18 percent so that Dolich can compensate all employees equitably, competitively and professionally. He has increased schedules to full-time, thereby allowing employees to qualify for the restaurant’s health insurance plan.
  4. Every year around this time the entire Park Kitchen staff takes a short 30 minute drive south to visit Your Kitchen Garden in Canby, Oregon. They plan the trip specifically after the initial push of the summer harvest is through and the Garden’s produce is at its highest. This allows staff to be inspired and plan ahead to maximize use of the many varieties of veggies that will be harvested in the coming weeks.
  5. Scott Dolich is a two-time nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Northwest. Often referred to as the “Oscars of Food,” the Awards honor the finest chefs, restaurants, wine professionals, journalists, cookbook authors, restaurant designers, and other food professionals in the United States.

Cascade is pleased to feature Park Kitchen, a business dedicated to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the local food industry.

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