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Understanding Generational Differences Some research delivered by Jim Frye Westrec VP of Business Development.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Generational Differences Some research delivered by Jim Frye Westrec VP of Business Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Generational Differences Some research delivered by Jim Frye Westrec VP of Business Development



4 To Learn More


6 What seems to matter to them Matures & Boomers: History of organization Name recognition of organization Tenure in the marketplace Historical & Perceived Quality

7 What seems to matter to them Gen X & The Millennials: The Individual, the Ego How things will affect their lives How things will make them distinct How you’ll impact their future How they’re different.

8 Matures (Born Prior to 1946) Dedication, sacrifice. Experience will always be the best teacher. Conformity, blending, unity – “We First” Team Hard, hard times then prosperity – still value moderation Deference

9 To sell to Matures: Let their experiences lead you... Ask for the “rules of engagement.” Ex: What can we do to earn this business from you? Are there some things we must do? Testimonials & institutions (government, companies, people).

10 To sell to Matures: Quality is important – they’ll measure it through their own experiences. Remember, your measure of quality and theirs may be different. NEVER mention a product is good for their age group. Standard and prepackaged is good Quality is king! Speak to it.

11 Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964) Workaholics Competitive Success is largely visible - trophies, plaques, certificates, etc. Defined by their work We are the world, We are the children

12 Baby Boomers Today (~49 to 67 yrs old) Paid their dues “ole school” way. Still working long and hard; had expected to slow down 85% will work longer than they had thought to afford retirement Proving to be poor mentors: “Today’s kids want too much given to them.” Busy, busy, busy: Kids won’t leave home and now parents moving in. Not transferring the institutional wisdom very well – still being rewarded for “doing it,” not teaching it.

13 Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964) 1970 Killer Weed Acid Rock Hoping for a BMW Rolling Stones Trying to look like Liz Taylor of Marlon Brando Long Hair 2014 Weed killer Acid Reflux Hoping for a BM Kidney Stones Trying NOT to look like Taylor or Brando Longing for hair

14 Connecting with the Boomers: Talk to them about how you’ll save them time. Talk to them about how you’ll make the purchase and financing easy. BUT be very careful of too many technology solutions.

15 Connecting with Boomers: Help them feel victorious. Visible gifts. Become a member of their team. Not exclusively internal – can include vendors. –Ex: “To me, this is not just about selling you a boat, its about becoming a sort of teammate.” Two overriding themes: Forever young. Rebellious. (Example – Cadillac, Harley Davidson.)


17 Communicating with the Boomers: 1) Face to face is number one. Relax. Fluid sentences. Have fun. They’re an optimistic group! 2) Telephone. Follow same rules. 3) Email - Full sentences. Few abbreviations. Opening and Closing. 4) Via Web - maybe / maybe not 5) Texting - depends on the person. Often OK for kids but not for vendors.

18 Generation X (1965 – 1979)

19 Generation X is a tough crowd Question authorities No shared heroes. Their heroes are people they’ve met & know. Watched the days of lifelong employment end. Don’t believe it will happen to them. Shorter time horizons than other generations Time is a currency. Carpe diem - Seize the day! If you’re not enjoying it, don’t do it. “Prove it to me.”

20 Generation X (1965 – 1979) Some are ready for more responsibility. Not all, some. Gen X is the most discontent of all employees today: Boomers not transferring knowledge; awareness that they’ll be passed by Millennials Looking more and more for stability - job hopping slowed down Pressures of the life stage - kids, funding retirement, 529 plans, mortgages... But their history of job hopping has made many of them unready for leadership. Tend to be remote leaders - manage from afar. “Closed door policy.”

21 Selling Gen X List all the available products, services, options, etc. Everything. Emphasize the short term solutions – Carpe Diem. Show back up plans… B, C, and D. They’ll use the technology available to double check what you’re telling them. So Anticipate it.

22 Selling Gen X Distrust anything too promotional, sales-y, or marketing-y. –Sell the steak, they’ll see right through the sizzle. Data and information. More is better. NO vanity advertising. NO photos of you. Where to go for more information - websites, referral sources, product / service reviews, etc.

23 Communicating with Gen X Probably will prefer email updates. Likely let your calls go to voice mail and then check the message to see how important it is and how quickly they need to call you back. Texting is OK if content is 1) a request or 2) information: Call me when you can. Or: Just got your msg. Can I call tomorrow to ask some q’s? Face to face: Your clients will not want to make hard and fast decisions face to face. Let them think about it and do their research.

24 Millenials (1980 – 2000)

25 At long last entering “adulthood”: ‣ Awareness of long-term investment products risen 50% in past two years. ‣ Interest in home ownership up 25% in last six months. Parents are a big influence and will remain so. And vice versa. Well cared for by parents. Still much younger than you at same age: ‣ Only recently began preferring traditional workplace culture (offices, cubicles, promotions). Group orientation.

26 Boomers will pass $41 Trillion on to this generation!


28 Same life Stages At much older ages! The most important characteristic of their messaging: A strong sense of individuality – “You’re special already!”



31 Then vs. Now Audie Murphy Medal of Honor Distinguished Service Cross Silver Star Legion of Merit Bronze Star Purple Heart US Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal Good Conduct Medal Distinguished Unit Emblem American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Armed Forces Reserve Medal Combat Infantryman Badge Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar French Fourragere French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier French Croix de Guerre French Croix de Guerre with Palm Medal of Liberated France Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm


33 Connecting with the Millennials Advice must have an immediate application to them. Must be unique to them. Want what their friends have and what their friends are doing with a unique twist. Spend time. Answer questions. Become a non-stressful provider of information. Be consultative. “Sensitive to my needs.” Individual relevance – “Why is this important to me?”

34 Communicating with Millenials: Texting is OK. Preferred! Do it. You must be present on the social technologies. Recognize individuality and uniqueness. Very important. Parents! Don’t forget about them. They’ll want to talk to you, too. Printed: Simple. Sleek. Modern. Be authentic. Be genuine. Be helpful. Don’t try to fake “cool.”


36 The Role of Experts - Baby Boomers Baby Boomers will largely heed the advice of experts because they respect and recognize expertise. Time and experience creates experts. Experts have earned the right to make specific recommendations for customers. Awards, designations, honors and accolades is proof of expertise.

37 The Role of Experts - Gen X Gen X believe experts must prove that they are experts. Expertise is not conferred or granted based on history or awards. The role of an expert is to lead the customer to a decision he/she has had some input into making. An expert proves expertise by their ability to convey their expertise to the non-expert in a buying situation.

38 The Role of Experts - Millennials Experts are there to help acknowledge the uniqueness of the individual’s situation. Experts are teachers. They guide through the process, educating along the way. Experts are resources to be called upon repeatedly as needed, even long after the transaction has closed.

39 Top 4 Takeaways With Gen X & Millennials - No more “let me tell you about my company.” Now it must be “Tell me about you” and “Let me tell you about you.” Teach, don’t sell. (This will work inattracting new employees, too.) With Boomers and Matures - Your history - company, brand, personal - give you the right to ask for the business. Ask for it. It will help if your sales force looks like your targeted customers. Same life stages will happen at older ages. Therefore expect your products to be sold to more savvy buyers.

40 Points to Ponder… The Millennials are buying and financing their purchases. There are 80+ million of them - large pool of potential customer. And may inherit some money. They will soon hit the next life stage and I expect their purchasing power to decrease as kids take over. The typical boaters - wealthy white males - are thinning out. Not replacing themselves. Smaller families, less money, etc... The Gen X boater is a tough customer. But if I’m in a family owned boating business and I’m the next generation, the Gen X customer is a MUST for me. They have the kids that will build your business for the future.

41 Points to Ponder… For the younger generations of boaters, your story is less important than their story- its about them, not you. The Gen X SuperParent is obsessed with their children’s experiences, so take the family on a test ride. Do everything possible to make sure the kids have fun. Ask your Boomer customers about their children. Listen for opportunities to meet the kids. Make a connection with the kids but don’t try to fake cool - its an agonizing thing to watch. With the Matures: You’ve earned this. Go. Enjoy yourself.

42 Time Magazine has long been preoccupied with the “Generations”

43 Are there stories to share from your experiences in understanding generational differences?


45 Forget Millennials. Gen Xers Are the Future of Work Says: Susan S. LaMotte, the founder of exaqueo (ex- ACK-wee-o), which helps organizations build cultures, create employer brands and develop talent strategies using a data-driven approach. There’s a big birthday coming up: in 2015, the first Generation Xers will turn 50 years old. Born between 1965 and 1980, these independent-minded, latchkey kids are now old enough to get their AARP cards.

46 Gen Xers are the Future of Work But that’s not all — they’re poised for great leadership–the average age of an S&P 1500 CEO is 50. And they’re already leading the majority of growing companies: 68% of Inc. 500 CEOs are Gen Xers.

47 Gen Xers are the Future of Work And yet we’re still ignoring them at work. Generation X may be the smallest portion of the workforce, but they’re your company’s rising and current leaders. So why do we ignore them? With the rise of Millennials (predicted to be more than 40% of the workforce by 2020), we’re obsessed with pleasing the masses and concerned about the aging Boomer workforce. But we’ve forgotten about our middle children, the silent, independent ones. And they matter much more than you might think. Here’s why:

48 Heads downs, thumbs up Gen Xers play the 7-up game daily. They are known for keeping their heads down and assuming their work speaks for itself. They constantly plug along and feign satisfaction, too afraid to upset the apple cart. And that’s a productivity and engagement killer. We know Gen Xers are less engaged than their Millennial counterparts, and that makes for less motivated, energized and prepared leaders.

49 The burden of the work-life balance debate As the average child-bearing age increases and life expectancy expands, Generation X is bearing the burden of raising young children while also managing aging parents more so than ever before. According to AARP, “in 2012, 42% of Generation X had a financially dependent child along with a parent over 65.” Like it or not, we can’t ignore the stress, concern and lack of sleep that follows them into the workplace and into positions of leadership. This also means Generation X is more likely to use the Family Medical and Leave Act resulting in increased absenteeism from work for months at a time.

50 The downward financial spiral The generation under the most financial stress, Generation X lost 45% of its wealth– almost double that of the Baby Boomers before them.Generation X lost 45% of its wealth We know how financial stress affects work quality and engagement but it also means this generation may take fewer risks in the workplace for fear of losing their jobs and have a lower propensity for change and shifting jobs even when opportunity arises.

51 Thinning ranks Because Generation Xers will make up only 20% of the workforce, as leadership roles are vacated by older workers, there are fewer Generation Xers available. And Millennials may not have the experience and maturity needed for such roles. Can we say war for talent? Three to five years from now experienced leaders may be impossible to recruit.

52 Renewing Leadership Impossible recruiting? Absent and unfocused workers? What sounds like a recipe for leadership disaster can be avoided if organizations don’t assume their middle children are doing just fine. Focusing the same attention on the generation that isn’t demanding it could be even more productive than helicoptering over your Millennials.

53 Renewing Leadership Start by looking inward first–that’s where data comes into play–not the large sweeping global trends on generations, but a deep look inside your organization: Who are your Generation Xers? How are they performing? What are their specific challenges? How is the organization helping to address those challenges?

54 Then you can work on removing the roadblocks in their way–engagement, financial, personal–and develop tailored plans for those high-potentials you want and need to be ready for the top jobs. Sometimes all the middle children need are a little attention and care.

55 Generation Y, Work, And Life As They See It

56 A Gen-Y Primer By E. E. Kane, Published April 01, 2008 Who Are They? Those born between 1982 and 2000 are generally considered to be Gen Y members. The current 20-somethings are the children of younger Boomers and older Gen Xers. The “boomerang” tag comes in part from their numbers. Boomer children were so called because of the sharp increase in births after World War II. Generation X saw a sharp decline. Generation Y is back up again, within ten million of Boomer’s numbers.

57 Gen Y and X Generation X paved a few golden roads for the younger set, mostly in the workplace. Gen X did not like the corporate ladder system, nor did they want to get shafted by cold corporate layoffs. They valued a stimulating working environment that provided plenty of feedback and utilized a team effort rather than dictatorial-style supervisors. Companies listened, and a few drastically changed their structure.

58 Characteristics of Gen Y Family ties – After watching their older siblings graduate from college with a mountain of debt, then spending years trying to dig themselves out, Generation Y has a new tactic. They are going back home to live with their folks. The plan is not only to help pay their debts. They want to save money on setting up house until they secure a job they really want – not just something to pay the bills.

59 Family Ties… Living with Mom and Dad is a smart move, according to Penelope Trunk, columnist for the Boston Globe and author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. “Today it’s almost impossible to become self- sufficient on an entry-level salary, especially in coastal cities like Boston, where rents are skyrocketing,” she says in her career-savvy blog ("Moving Back Home With Your Parents is a Good Career Move," May 15, 2005,

60 Tech savvy – Generation Y has distinct advantages over Gen X and Boomers in the world of technology. Boomers may have invented the PC, and Gen X created the large Internet companies, but Generation Y grew up with tech-savvy genes. They took computer classes beginning in preschool, played with cell phones as babies, and instinctively knew how to manipulate a spreadsheet program that still mystifies most Boomers.

61 Tech Savvy - College students start Internet businesses in their dorm rooms like it’s extra credit. (It turns into extra cash. Sometimes lots of it.) The Ys can upload images from their cell phones, download music from the Internet to their iPods, and often know how to program the high-tech home-entertainment systems.

62 Shorter attention spans – Gen Y is fantastic at multitasking. It’s what they do best. They can work on their homework while they text friends, listen to their iPod, watch television, and upload new pictures to their MySpace page. It is the lack of stimulation that drives them nuts.

63 Social Values – Young people like to spend time with their families, and they are known to choose a job based on who they will be working with – friends, or a group of people who seem friendly. More than any other generation (even Gen X), they embrace diversity in their workplace and social circles. And they are environmentally conscious, after years of green education.

64 Free time – When Boomers and Generation X wanted to pursue their need for wanderlust, or to “find themselves,” society frowned upon them. Generation Y is doing basically the same thing, but in a more productive way. Overseas studies are nearly the rule for graduate work, not the exception. And volunteering in Botswana or Mississippi for a summer is par for the college graduate course.

65 Free time - According to UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, 66.3 percent of freshmen polled said that helping others was very important. Gen Y is exploring and discovering, but without the slacker reputation. The difference is that society is looking on with approval. This might be the first generation in a long time with which older folks are impressed.

66 Compliant – If you consider the fact that Generation Y is willingly volunteering for military service during a time of military conflict, and contrast that to the 1960’s demonstrations against Vietnam, it is apparent that Generation Yers are not political activists. Not in the traditional sense of the word. (Sure, there are protestors, but many of them are Generation Y’s parents, angry that their children are in danger for a cause they do not believe in.) Generation Y prefers quieter tactics, such as environmentalism and everyone doing their part to make a better world.

67 Outspoken – To a Boomer, outspokenness sounds rude. But Gen Y has been taught to question the status quo, to think outside of the box, and to speak up when they see discrepancies. That can be frustrating to a boss who expects workers to follow instructions without questions or argument. “Because I said so” doesn’t fly with Ys.

68 Work issues – The 20-somethings entering the workforce are willing to do grunt work and stick with a company, if they are reassured that the company will be personal and look after them in return. They like security and stability. Everyone wants stability, but Gen Y is willing to join small businesses because they are sure to have a personable working environment and a closer relationship to the owner. The media might have you believing they are narcissistic and spoiled, but according to Neil Howe, generation expert and co- author of several books about generations, including “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation,” this newer generation is proving to be hard workers. True, they need frequent affirmation, having been raised in the most child-centered culture ever, accustomed to constant praise for every accomplishment. Companies might have to learn new tricks to satisfy the influx of millions of new workers.

69 Work issues - The media might have you believing they are narcissistic and spoiled, but according to Neil Howe, generation expert and co-author of several books about generations, including “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation,” this newer generation is proving to be hard workers. True, they need frequent affirmation, having been raised in the most child-centered culture ever, accustomed to constant praise for every accomplishment. Companies might have to learn new tricks to satisfy the influx of millions of new workers.

70 Catering to Gen Y New businesses should take a clue from major marketers, who know that Gen Yers want products that are environmental, healthy, public-conscious, genuine, and appealing. Good marketing will get a product into the hands of ready- to-give-it-a-try Gen Y beta testers. Free samples will be a big hit with them, especially when accompanied by catchy buzz-words and cool labels. Employers can help young workers gain experience, and would do well to remember to be flexible toward this generation’s job-hopping style as they look for just the right job. They aren’t lazy, just quickly bored.

71 Catering to Gen Y Gen Y wants to be trained, mentored on a peer basis, and they love flexible hours and work- from-home opportunities. They are creative, work well in teams, and love interaction. Because Gen Y thinks outside the box, opportunities for company leaps in creative thinking are quite possible.

72 Will it work? Will Gen Y be won over by clever marketing and career opportunities? Yes, it’s most likely to happen, and the older Gen X and leftover Boomers (their parents) will be proud of them, too. The future is very promising with a workforce that breaks out of the mold that has stagnated business, and sent many jobs overseas.

73 Will Gen Y Succeed? Generation Y may have what it takes to turn the nation around in the job market. It certainly will be refreshing to have a new outlook on life, and some positive thinking for a change.

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