Nip it in the bud: How to manage your entitled employees

Management typically deals with at least one difficult employee. They range from tardiness to dodging responsibility, while others conflict with co-workers. The one who is the most disruptive on the team is the employee with an entitled attitude.

Entitled employees can range from the seniors who feel that they have earned the right to work less, yet get paid a higher salary, to the ones who always expects more no matter how many bonuses, paid vacation days or raises you offer.

But, my all-time favorite is the one who believes that they are doing the company a favor, just because they showed up.

During the hiring process it may be hard to recognize the difficult ones, but research shows that a few characteristics of employees with “attitude” may include:

  • Not liking change because it could affect their status.
  • Thinking that they are always right.
  • Believing that their talents and contributions to the company are always above and beyond.
  • Perceiving that privileges are rights.
  • Push back from veteran employees who feel that they don’t have the right tools and gave up.

If you do end up hiring one of these difficult employees, it is your job as a manager to address these issues before they have a negative impact on the whole team. The entitlement behavior can become a challenge in the workplace for a variety of reasons, including disrupting productively and taking away from organizational health.

To address these issues, managers can help employees stay on task and remain humble. Here’s how:

Set expectations clearly from day one

By having clear communication early, it will guarantee that all of your employees are on the same page.

If you do notice that an employee loses focus, however, address the issue immediately. This will also ensure that other employees will notice how quickly you respond to problems.

Document concerns in writing

Any time an issue is addressed, it should always be documented in writing and kept in the employee’s file. This serves as a great way to monitor the situation to keep the employee on track.

Create a ‘T’ environment

Be proactive with setting a team environment. An easy way to do this is to make a point to celebrate team accomplishments, instead of singling out individual achievements. This will make your employees work harder as a team and share recognition.

Pick a favorite charity to sponsor to help your employees focus beyond themselves

Encourage your employees to get involved with the community. This will be a sure way that your employees will notice just how lucky they truly are.


Keep in mind, this isn’t about stereotyping seniors or millennials. Entitled employees come from any generation. It really just comes down to attitude and work ethic.

As the manager, don’t be discouraged if you do have a team full of entitled employees. It may not be easy to overcome this obstacle, but once you do, you’ll be glad you put in the time and effort.


Michele Cuthbert is the CEO and creator of Baker Creative, a global WBE-certified creative brand management firm based in Ohio.