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A New Hire: Praise Consultants?

praise consultant applause

I keep my ear to the ground to stay up on the latest trends in culture. I’m especially interested in helping faculty, staff, employers and coaches manage teens and twenty-somethings. I just attended a conference, and heard something I hadn’t heard before. One keynote speaker, the NASPA director emeritus, told us companies in the U.S. are now hiring “praise consultants” to keep their young employees affirmed and passionate about their work. This new addition to the HR department is money executives are willing to spend—so they don’t have to continuously walk about the cubicles, praising the youngsters and complimenting their every move.

Over the last four years, employers have told me about the rising number of young potential employees who come in as “high maintenance” staff. Some require consistent affirmation (as I mention above) or some actually bring their mom to the job interview. Yep, you read that right.  Several moms are insisting they help answer the interview questions since they know their daughter or son so well. They act as a sort of “agent” for their kids, representing them in the hiring process. One mom even returned to the employer six months later asking why her kid had not gotten a raise. I’m sure she felt it was a simple question.

On another occasion, a manager said a mother texted the answers to her son, in real time, during the job interview. In essence, her son texted the question as soon as it came up in the interview, and mom texted back as rapidly as she could, so as not to be…too intrusive.

It’s not a laughing matter but this situation was the inspiration for one of our videos about Artificial Maturity:

Why do adults do this to their young people?

I know why. We are thinking only of ourselves and of the present. Doing this for our kids “feels right” to us and we lose sight of what effect it may have on them as they move out and must do life on their own. I believe whatever our role: teacher, parent, coach, youth minister, employer, we must remember this reality:

Every decision I make for my young person will either prepare them to be ready for the future…or prevent them from being ready for the future.

I must ask myself:

  • If I’ve lavished my kids with praise, will that be sustainable as they get a job?
  • If I give them everything they want, is that sustainable as they support themselves on their own?
  • If I remove or medicate every pain, will they be able to handle life’s pains as they move into adulthood?

We must always make decisions with the end in mind. The further out we can see, the better choices we make today.

What examples have you seen of people preparing students for the future?

Artificial Maturity

2 Comments

  1. Kelsey on June 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

    That video is hilarious and I can’t believe people would actually bring their mothers to an interview. I am a recent graduate and there is NO WAY that I would bring my mother to an interview. That is just plain wrong!
    I also feel though that having “praise consultants” is just a waste of money. How are they even helping the company make money? By giving pats on the back and “atta-boys”? I would be weirded out if I someone doing that to me as I was working. I would rather be left alone.

  2. Shane Kennard on July 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

    As I thought about this blog, it’s the brilliance of grace AND truth. Is this young adult population reacting against the “encourag-less” (or at least perceived) work culture prior? Where we showed up to work, do our duty, have a better chance of getting chewed on than encouraged. Yes, pendulum in the complete opposite direction on this one.

    What if everyone had in their job description “Praise Consultant?” Where there was an atmosphere of encouragement instead of a job of encouragement?

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A New Hire: Praise Consultants?