My brother left for college when I was four-years-old. He’s a Boomer. I’m a Gen Xer. That was my first introduction to generational differences. We didn’t see or experience the world in the same ways. After all, the world changed quite a bit between 1976, when he graduated high school, and when I graduated in 1990!
At 25, I became a young executive, charged with managing a team of people twice my age. At 28, I was working at a membership association and found myself wondering why I was often one of the youngest people in the room and why my peers weren’t joining associations.
As a result of these experiences, I started to contemplate membership and employee engagement. It seemed Boomers were very engaged in both realms, but younger generations weren’t. I wanted to know why.
I started interviewing association executives and discovered many were struggling to engage younger members. Then I interviewed business executives and learned entire industries were struggling to engage young talent.
I was inspired to create the solution. When I was 30, I started XYZ University.
XYZ U’s Mission
Simply put, at XYZ U our mission is to ensure every organization has a future.
Here’s what I know after years of research:
1. Membership and employee engagement has changed, and different generations engage in different ways.
2. Engagement gaps stem from organizations and their cultures. Simply put, we’re observing a gap between 20th century-managed organizations and a 21st century-raised workforce.
3. It’s getting worse. Presently, 62% of associations are experiencing declining membership and 70% of the workforce is disengaged.
Many organizations simply lack the structure, strategy, and culture to engage members and talent effectively in the 21st century. That’s where XYZ U comes in.
Our strategies guide associations toward the future – first creating membership experiences where every generation feels engaged and can make a difference, then launching valuable workforce training and retention programs associations can provide to their member companies.
We need the participation of younger generations in our associations and workforces but engaging them requires a future-focused mindset and strategy. XYZ U is the answer.