There are so many speakers and trainers out there...

What makes genWHY Communication Strategies WORTH listening to?

Click on any of the icons below to get details about our research and the KEY CONCEPTS that we teach. 

Conventions

  • Alabama Broadcasters Association State Conference Keynote 2017
  • Y'all Connect Social Media Conference 2017
  • AL/MS Section of the American Water Works Association Convention 2017
  • 2nd Annual NonProfit University 2017
  • Leadership Huntsville Diversity Day 2017
  • Larry Blumburg & Associates National Convention 2017
  • Society of Research Administrators Southern/Midwest Annual Conference 2017
  • Alabama County Commissioners Convention 2016
  •  JSU Administrative Professionals Day 2016
  • National Communication Association National Conference 2016
  • Leadership Huntsville Management Academy Day 2016
  • Association of Leadership Programs National Conference 2015
  • Social and Digital Media Strategy Conference 2015
  • National Communication Association National Conference 2015
  •  Huntsville Public Relations BIG Marketing Event 2015
  • Alabama Rehabilitation Association Training Conference 2015
  • Jacksonville State Administrative Professionals Conference 2015
  • North Alabama Society for Human Resources Management Conference 2016.  
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Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) EVENTS: 

  • Tuscaloosa Human Resource Professionals Leadership Workshop - Tuscaloosa, AL - Keynote Speaker 2017
  • Lake Washington Human Resources Association - Seattle, WA - Breakout Speaker 2017
  • State of Alabama SHRM- Birmingham, AL - Keynote Speaker 2016
  • North Alabama Society for Human Resources Management - Huntsville, AL - Keynote Speaker  2016, 2015, 2014 
  • State of Alabama SHRM - Birmingham, AL - Breakout Speaker 2015
 

Our Research Is Our Own

We didn't just pull this stuff off the internet folks!!! Our research has been conducted BY US to ensure that it reflects the

ACTUAL statements, perceptions, & observations of the generations, as opposed to just using common stereotypes and media portrayals.

How was our research conducted?

Early in her career as an instructor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH),  Kristin Scroggin began researching her students. She obtained approval from the UAH Internal Review Board (IRB) to conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups with adults over the age of 19. As of 2018, more than 10 online surveys (primarily using Survey Monkey & Google Forms) have been completed by individuals 33 and younger.  Over 4,000 individuals were surveyed, and over 75% of them were millennials.

Responses were sorted to include the following:

  1.  Individuals between 19-33 years of age were classified as Millennials. 
  2.  Individuals between 34-54 years of age were classified as GenX.
  3.  Individuals between 55-75 years of age were classified as Baby Boomers.
  4.  Individuals between 76-96 years of age were classified as Traditionalist.
  5.  Individuals must have spent at least 90% of their childhood (ages 0-15 yrs) in the United States.
  6.  Individuals raised in all areas of the country (West, Midwest, South, East) were surveyed. Approximately 45% of those surveyed were from the Southern United States.
  7.  Individuals with and without college educations were surveyed.
  8.  Questions were asked on multiple topics including: basic demographics, childhood norms, socio-economic background, culture, desires for work, family, housing, travel, workplace expectations, social media

Multiple interviews and focus groups were conducted to confirm consistency with survey results and further refine the dividing lines between generations. In addition, the continual delivery to audiences with varying work backgrounds allowed for further sorting. A few of the Industries represented include: aerospace, government contracting, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, government, hospitality, education, and non-profit organizations.

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Participate in Our Current Survey

Right now we are in the middle of collecting responses from 19-33 year olds and would love it if you would participate and share it with friends in that age group. The more data we have, the more accurately we can reflect the wants and needs of this generation. To participate just click here:

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Key Sources

In addition to our own research, we rely on the information from many other valuable *AND TRUSTED* resources to refine our presentations and consulting. 

In particular we pull from:


Your Childhood Influences How You See Work

The world you grew up in is NOT the same one kids are growing up in today. We know, because you tell us ALL THE TIME how different things are!

Because the U.S. has changed so rapidly and so dramatically (according to some), you might find that you're needing a "translator" to help you understand your teammates. 

Don't worry...we got you boo. (that's Millennial for "We can help"!)

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Traditionalists 1924 - 1943

Traditionalists were predominantly shaped by the Great Depression (1929-1939) and military influences from their WWI-fighting parents and their own experience with WWII (1939-1945). Many current rules, norms, and policies this generation set in place after their return from war are based on military standards and are still enforced today.  It's not uncommon to hear a "just be happy you have a job" come out when asking for a budget increase. 

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BAby Boomers 1944 - 1964

Boomers were heavily effected by being a part of a massive generation. They not only outnumbered their parents 3:1, but they also KNEW there were a lot of them (80 million births to be exact). Everywhere Boomers looked growing up there were kids! 40 kids in a classroom, 3 baseball teams in the neighborhood, a community pool jam-packed with children needing to cool off. This surge created a level of competitiveness they still struggle with today. 

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GenX 1965 - 1985

GenXers are "the poster child" for latch-key kids. Most of the time their parents had no idea where they were until the street-lights came on. They lived a very self-reliant life which fueled a hyper-independent and resourceful work-style. You'll find them frequently asking for forgiveness instead of permission and complaining about micro-management in any form. Additionally, a hard divide in the US occurred when the internet became widely available (thanks AOL circa 1995). Suddenly young people didn't have to "ask an adult" anymore, they could simply "Google it." 

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Millennials 1985 - 2005

In the early 1990s you were cool if you had a drivers license and a pager.  Fast forward to 2018, if you don't have a smart phone by age 12 you're completely out of touch. The internet, Google, Social Media--these things are a huge part of the formation of Millennial outlook. However, there is a bigger thing that has influenced their perspective of work, and that is the Participation Trophies that THEIR PARENTS BOUGHT. By watering down competition, many Millennials now find themselves, as young adults, struggling to find how they stack up against their peers, needing more descriptive job descriptions and more frequent feedback. 


 

46% of the American Population

is UNDER 33 years of age

Yeah, you should read that again! 

 
 
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The Millennials are the Majority

As of the December 2017 Census projections, Millennials (32-12 years old) make up 27.2% of the United States population and Generation Z (11 and under) make up another 18.7%. So if you’re doing the math this means that approximately 46% of the United States is currently under 33 years of age. Let’s just let that that sink in for a moment.

Are companies operating as if their survival is dependent on cultivating and empowering young talent, or are we living under the assumption that the Boomers are still the majority? Here's the truth of it, In 2030 ALL Baby Boomers will be legally eligible to retire.  While many won’t retire right away (many because they can’t afford to do so), if even 1/3 of them are gone by then many companies will have a huge problem. At genWHY we have worked with companies that are anticipating losing 50% of their current leadership in the next five years. If this were your company, what would its future look like? 

genWHY believes Millennials ARE THE FUTURE of America, and while they are already shaking up the way we currently think of work, we, at genWHY, don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing. Our research makes one thing very clear…Millennials are REFORMERS, not CONFORMERS. You will never get that square peg into that round hole. The Millennials ARE coming, they ARE massive (the majority--and with that comes a lot of power), and they ARE different.  If companies want to employ the best of the best of them, they HAVE to find out how to attract and retain them. 

No longer can companies say, “They will learn to do it our way or they can leave." NO--either companies adjust or cease to exist. 

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(C) genWHY Communication Studies 2018. Do not replicate without permission


 

Knowledge Transfer MUST Happen SOON!

One of the number one priorities for companies right now should be knowledge transfer.  

The problem? The two groups who need it most are the least inclined to transfer it. 

 
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What is at stake for baby boomers?

If you read our section called YOUR CHILDHOOD MAKES AN IMPACT ON HOW YOU VIEW WORK, then you know the impact being a part of a massive generation had on the Baby Boomer generation. When multiple people are fighting for a few jobs, there is one sure-fire way to ensure that you will not be "disposed of" as quickly as your co-workers. You have to make sure that you know something other people DON'T.

In many ways Boomers were trained that the best way to secure your place in a company was to hold onto vital content and become a subject matter expert in a particular area. By ensuring you are the ONLY person who is the subject matter expert in your office on particular topics, you make it far more difficult to be "downsized" or "let go."

This led to a version of unintentional, and in many ways unwitting, information hoarding. 

Also, let's not forget that Boomers were taught that age = wisdom = power. It is difficult for them to ask for help from people younger than them.

In companies across the United States the solution to knowledge transfer has been "LET'S START A MENTORING PROGRAM" (a great idea in theory). The problem with that is that many Boomers are not quite sure they are ready to retire. And while they are deciding, there is no way they want to hand over the information they have (i.e., power) to the new hires who can work at "double the speed at half the price." 

 

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what is at stake for the millennials?

Our research shows that Millennials are desperate for a mentoring relationship! There's a couple of things that Millennials have experienced that GenXers and Boomers did not.  This has led to this hunger that many don't consider. 

The first is that it is common in college classrooms across the country for Professors to make statements such as "you don't really need to know how to do this yet because when you get to your company they will tell you exactly how they want it to get done." The result? They have a head full of theory, but don't have a lot of hard skills commonly associated with their degree.

Additionally, Millenials are accustomed to being able to ask technology ("google it") anything at almost any time, in many ways this has "saved face" for them by allowing them to never have to reveal that they don't know everything. Not only do they have Siri they can ask now, they have Alexa and Google Assistant that can help them at a moment's notice. So what do you do when you have a question that you CAN'T "google"? You have to admit to someone--someone that is paying you to do a job most likely--that you do not know what you're doing. Often they are not inclined to do this. 

Finally Millennials have lived in a world of INSTANT! In minutes they can call a car to their exact location to take them wherever they need to go. Their college tests were graded instantly by the computer the moment they hit submit. They don't even have to wait in line at a restaurant anymore thanks to apps like NoWait and Open Table. They understand that they can accumulate KNOWLEDGE very quickly...a Wikipedia article, 2 Ted Talks, and a podcast and they're good to go. However, what many have not been trained on are the soft skills that combine with knowledge to form WISDOM. While companies definitely want smart employees, they want tolerable humans even more. Unfortunately, wisdom and developing soft skills are SLOW processes, which is frustrating to a generation that can have popcorn in less than three minutes. 

What they BRING however is their amazing computer and technology "hacks."  What might take your "star Boomer employee" a day to complete will likely take your Millennial less than an hour. Face it, these folks were doing PowerPoints in 1st grade and can CTRL-ALT-DELETE their way through anything. The issue:  They're not anywhere as good at explaining to someone how to work the technology as they are at doing it. This presents a huge problem for the Boomer who has no choice but to get on board with the new database system. Usually these conversations end up with BOTH groups frustrated!

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genWHY is DEveloping a solution! 

Currently genWHY Communications is in the design phase of a product that we belive will dramatically assist in allowing Boomers to secure their legacy and knowledge without feeling like the moment they do they will be "let go."   Additionally it will use technology, which Millennials are ACCUSTOMED to searching first for answers, to allow them to continue to get quality information, but in a way that allows them to continue saving face. We can't say more you'll totally steal this brilliant idea, but keep checking back with us about it soon! Until then I would suggest bringing us in for a presentation!!


There's More To Life Than WORK

While the above statement is commonly cited as being a "Millennial Perspective," we would argue that the MAJORITY of the people we survey, regardless of age, say the same thing.

However, saying it and living it are two different things.  And, re-designing an entire corporate structure will take more than a catchy slogan. 

 
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Each Generation Has Different Social Needs At Work

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Baby Boomers = SUPER SOCIAL

Baby Boomers are, by their very nature, predominantly face-to-face social. Don't forget this is the generation of block parties and "at homes" when young people returned on college breaks. Boomers had another reason to get social with their new workmates, though! Due to the massive size of the generation (three times that of the generation prior to theirs), job availability in the town you were born in was in higher demand. Suddenly people found themselves having to move to different towns and states to find work. What better way to acclimate to a totally new town than socializing with the people you already spend 8-hours a day with. You’ll find them frequently requesting company holiday parties, picnics, cocktail hours, corporate retreats/off-sites and the like. Meetings also give a feel of socialization to your work day and, as you might have noticed, those have raised dramatically since the Boomers took charge. 


GenX=ANTI-SOCIAL

 

GenXers seem to be far more anti-social. Those middle-managers groan at the thought of having to spend MORE than the 8 required hours of the day with their co-workers and seem eager to bolt out of the door to take their children to whatever practice they’re up to these days. Much of this is due to the sheer volume of latch-key kids who "handled their own business" from 3pm-8pm when parents finally came home. 

GenXers are the biggest advocates of work-life balance and will frequently use "my kid has a basketball game, ballet recital, dentist appointment," as a way of getting out of the Boomer's social events.  The problem is they often still find themselves having to plan them. Many GenXers have stated in focus group sessions that they don't need to have friends at work, or even like their boss, in order to continue working at their jobs.  They also plan to return the second they are eligible. 


Millennials=VIRTUALLY SOCIAL

People often (incorrectly) assume that Millennials are very social. Especially since “social media” is so prevalent in their generation. However, our research has clearly shown that Millennials are better at being virtually social than face-to-face social and prefer to socialize with their small friend groups as opposed to larger networking boomer-hosted events. It is not uncommon for Millennials to have 1,000+ "friends" or "followers" on their social media accounts,and only have 3-4 close friends that they "hang out with". Millennials seem to prefer apps and programs that allow them to be social via instant messenger, video chatting, GroupMe, and Google doc shared documents. 

In recent surveys (Jan 2018) we’ve begun to see a re-emergence of a desire to socialize face-to-face with workplace colleagues in 19-23 year olds entering the workplace. Our research has shown, however, that they want to socialize with people of ALL age-groups at these events, and not just within their own age group. 

It is FREQUENTLY shown that Millennials are wanting mentors in their workplaces. 

genWHY believes its important for organizations to know that different generations (and even personality types) are more or less prone to need social aspects of their jobs to find it satisfying and fulfilling.  Companies should consider these needs when developing corporate culture events.


You're Paying More in Turnover Than You Think!

If most companies actually sat down and calculated the cost of replacing employees lost due to turnover this year, they would LOSE their mind! 

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Onboarding Matters!!

Research shows that Millennial employees are leaving their current jobs for a new position every 18 months on average. This is seriously bad news for companies who spend enormous amounts of money recruiting, hiring, training and certifying employees only to lose them in less than two years.

genWHY believes that encouraging organizations to make fundamental changes, such as re-focusing on onboarding and allocating adequate time to that process, will drastically reduce turnover. By setting clear expectations for new employees, giving them more resources to find answers to early-career questions, training them on specific softwares necessary to their success and including them in building corporate culture, companies can maximize fresh energy and the most current research in their field, thus empowering new employees to be successful from the outset of their careers.

This concept is a GAME CHANGER for many companies when it comes to changing around benefit plans, offering incentives for retention, and focusing on what it is going to take to KEEP employees. 

Still Under Construction

This page is still under construction, but don't freak out its going to be GREAT! Check back soon! 

 
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