A few of us have been working on a short survey to dive into the issue of cross-generational communication, which it looks like I’ll be releasing into the wild this week, in time for my weekly newsletter.
The survey is designed to answer a few questions that the popular press, and even academia, seem to gloss over, namely:
- When we talk about “younger generations,” who are we talking about? The academics use a demographic cut-off for Gen Y based on birth rates, but the behavioral studies don’t line up to that point in time. Much of the stuff I’ve seen that uses the 1982 cut-off fails to show a generational trend, instead showing stage-of-life and general economy trends, while one meta-study I saw did find a generational shift… with the cut-off being 1971.
- Which raises an interesting point: where does Gen X fall… are we closer to Boomers or Millennials?
- And, what’s really going on inside companies? Two weeks ago, I saw an article about how 24 year-olds need to be careful not to get burned out… and another article lamenting Gen Y’s lack of commitment. And then I look at some the people I work with, who are committed and screaming for more responsibility while sitting bored and underutilized, and I think, in my unfailing eloquence: Huh? This makes no sense!
I know there are a lot of studies out there about what this group wants, and what that group thinks of this group, and what this group would like to do to that group given a 10 minute window of opportunity and enough duct tape, but I think by and large these studies continue to make some reasonably questionable assumptions.
This survey should shed some light on those assumptions.
Look for the survey, and when you see it, please, please, please… take 5-10 minutes and fill it out, plus 30 seconds to spread the word.
Results will be available in the Fall.
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.