Mixing It Up! Amy Hirsh Robinson Featured in HR Magazine

I’d like to share a fascinating examination of generational issues in the workplace. “Mixing it Up,” is the cover story in the May 2011 issue of HR Magazine, in which I am quoted extensively. As an expert on the impact of generational differences in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds, my consulting has evolved over the years to enable organizations to create agile workforces adaptive to change. Through my work, my clients gain a cost effective and competitive advantage in attracting, retaining and managing multigenerational talent. In addition, my strategic expertise refines their business models and practices to address generational trends in the market.

I invite you to read the article and share your thoughts with me on these compelling issues. It’s also not too late to register for my May 19 webinar, “Recruiting The Class Of 2011: Managing the Expectation of Millennials --- And Yours!” If you can't make the webinar, but would like to discuss the intergenerational issues of your company, feel free to contact me at ahr@interchange-group.com.

- Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group (www.interchange-group.com)

Recruiting the Class of 2011: Managing Their Expectations -- Any Yours!


Does this sound familiar?

  • You're frustrated by what you call a "sense of entitlement" in todays youth and marvel at their lack of patience to master a skill or job thoroughly.
  • You're horrified by the casual writing style of your younger staff and wonder what happened to spell check and punctuation.
  • You've just spent thousands of dollars recruiting recent college graduates, only to find that six months later they've left you for greener pastures.

Welcome to the Millennial generation! Born into the world of the internet, cell phones and video games, these teens and twenty-somethings are tech savvy with short attention spans. Raised by "Helicopter" Baby Boomer parents who pushed them to excel, Millennials are natural multi-taskers brimming with confidence. This is the Harry Potter generation of team enthusiasts who want to make the world a better place. And they are ready to bypass any red tape that gets in their way!


In only four years, Millennials will represent over 40% of the American workforce. How will employers effectively recruit and manage a group of workers predicted to drastically change how companies organize and communicate? Join us for another popular Interchange Group webinar as we answer this question and share practical strategies for attracting and retaining the Millennials. Learning outcomes include:

  • Expectations, motivations and behaviors of the Millennial generation
  • Recruiting and interviewing tactics to attract top young talent
  • Orientation and on-boarding practices for accelerating time to productivity
  • Strategies for managing career pathing and development conversations
  • Management and communication practices to increase performance and retention

Registration for this webinar is complimentary to Interchange Group clients. Contact your Interchange Group consultant for arrangements or email info@interchange-group.com. Registration for non-clients is available for a fee of $79.


Click here to register

A College-Educated Workforce

In the U.S., only 1/3 of high school students graduate on time and prepared for college-level work. 1/3 don’t even graduate at all. If current postsecondary graduation rates do not improve, our labor market will be short 3 million college-educated workers by 2018.

America’s education system is not preparing students for the demands of a knowledge-based economy and workplace. That’s why the Interchange Group supports Aspire Public Schools, a non-profit organization that operates public charter schools in urban areas across California. Aspire’s motto is “College for Certain,” and its growing school system boasts both record State performance and a 97% college acceptance rate. As our holiday gift to our clients and community, we have chosen to donate funds to Aspire. We encourage you to find ways to support educational improvements in your own communities!

Happy Holidays from the Interchange Group Team!

Predictions For The Next Generation

What’s the youngest generation in America called and what will they be like? As the holidays approach and the focus inevitably shifts to children, we thought we’d take the opportunity to offer some predictions and pose this question to the greater community.

Though their beginning birth years have yet to be conclusively decided, children of America’s youngest generation are roughly 0-10 years old. They are currently the offspring of Generation X (born ca. 1963-1981) but many will have parents from the Millennial generation (born ca. 1982-2000) as time goes on. While demographers use a variety of names to refer to this generation -- Generation Net, Generation Z, the Homeland Generation -- none of them has yet to stick. And while it’s clear that the members of this generation will be the most technologically savvy in history, most of their other values and characteristics have yet to crystallize. Here are some of our predictions:
  • Self-Directed - In reaction to the “helicopter” parenting style of the Baby Boomers, “slow” or “free range” parenting styles of Gen Xers and Millennials will emphasize unstructured time over overachievement and result in the ability to self-direct.
  • Adaptive & Resilient - Not having experienced or remembered the years of prosperity prior to the “Great Recession,” this generation will come of age accustomed to living with less and working with what they have.
  • Conforming – Growing up in the wake of 9/11, Columbine and mobile surveillance technology will produce a generation of children highly tolerant of protective environments and imposed rules and boundaries.
  • Inclusive - This generation’s child- and young adulthood will be marked by political polarity, global instability and deepening divides between the rich and poor. As a result they will adopt values of fairness and due process in an effort to right the inequities they see around them.
Because a generation is shaped by the first 16 years of life, we’ll need more time to monitor all the influences (e.g. family upbringing, school systems, world events, etc.) of today’s youth. What do you think this next generation will be like in society? How will their values and behaviors shape the workplace of the future? We welcome your comments!

For more information and tips on recruiting, engaging and managing the different generations in your workplace, contact us at www.interchange-group.com.

Nonprofits - A Crisis of Succession

75% of nonprofit executive directors plan to resign in the next five years or less. By 2016 the nonprofit sector will need 80,000 new senior managers each year, 40% more each year than is currently required. With these stark statistics one would think that succession planning would be top of mind for most nonprofits, but only 29% have succession plans in place. Succession planning will be the number one crisis facing nonprofits in the coming years and many will not survive as a result. Demographics aside, here are 3 major reasons why nonprofits must engage in succession planning now to stay in business for the future:

  • Funding – Scrutiny among foundations and private donors is growing. In the future, many will simply withhold funds to nonprofits that cannot demonstrate continuity in leadership. As more organizations vie for funding from non-government entities, the demand for succession plans will rise.
  • Retention - After passion for the mission, professional development is the second most important reason nonprofit executives take new jobs. Organizations that do not plan for succession send a clear message to their top talent that professional development is not valued.
  • Board Fatigue - Many board members are simply weary to commit more time, money and contacts to leaders who seem ready for retirement or are not open to fresh ideas. For prospective board members, the prospect of new leadership will be the necessary step to gain their support and engagement.

Generational shifts among stakeholders, emerging communication technologies and rising economic uncertainty have changed the playing field and what's required of nonprofit leaders. Nonprofits are clearly struggling in the most challenging times since the Depression and most do not feel capable of planning past the next fiscal year. That being said, not engaging in succession planning will be a huge disservice to the communities they serve. What does this mean for the nonprofit organizations that you work for or support? What could you do to help ensure their sustainability?

For more information and tips on succession planning and managing the different generations in your workplace, contact us at www.interchange-group.com.

Eldercare Issues in the Workplace

As more and more Baby Boomers struggle to balance full-time employment and the emotional and financial demands of caring for aging parents, the cost to employers is rising. According to MetLife, the average employee caregiver costs his or her employer $2100 per year in absenteeism, lost productivity and increased healthcare costs. That’s a total loss of $33 billion per year to U.S. businesses.

Unfortunately, the situation is predicted to get worse in the coming years. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services report that the segment of the population most likely to need care (those over 85) is increasing rapidly, from 35 million today to 70 million in 2030. How will employers cope with the disruptions and costs of a growing workforce of employee caregivers? Here are some of the many innovative “eldercare friendly” policies and practices that companies are adopting to address the issue:
  • Flexible work arrangements including telecommuting, compressed work weeks and job sharing
  • Leave-sharing that allows employees to donate a portion of their leave time to others who have eldercare responsibilities
  • Caregiver Employee Resource Groups that enable employees to share resources and emotional support
  • Dependent Care Spending Accounts permitting employees to pay for adult daycare expenses with pre-tax dollars
  • Consultation on eldercare services and counseling on hospice and palliative care
Addressing issues of eldercare is a business imperative. Organizations that respond to employee needs will be rewarded with loyalty, engagement and productivity. Those that force employees to choose between caring for a loved one and devoting themselves to work will sacrifice both their bottom line and their ability to attract top talent in the future.

For more information and tips on recruiting, engaging and managing the different generations in your workplace, contact us at www.interchange-group.com.

September 16 Webinar: New Hire Onboarding

For employers, making a good first impression through the recruitment process is essential. But managers are often so driven to find talent that they forget to reinforce that positive impression during the new hire’s first year on the job. In other words, they neglect to think about what will happen once the employee shows up ready for work.

Employee onboarding (the process of integrating new hires into an organization) is taking on a new priority as demographic shifts gather steam and the economy begins to recover. Research shows that companies that invest in a structured onboarding process for new employees experience dramatic increases in revenue, customer satisfaction and employee retention, productivity and engagement. Yet most employers devote less time and money to their onboarding process than they do to their holiday party. A mistake that costs organizations greatly both in bottom line and reputation.

Join us for another popular Interchange Group webinar as we explore strategic insights and practical guidelines for designing simple onboarding programs that accelerate performance and boost retention. Learning outcomes include:

  • The generational imperative for new hire onboarding
  • The importance of cultural adaptation in increasing performance and retention
  • The 6 critical steps of onboarding and how to implement them
  • Key phases and activities to consider when designing your onboarding process
  • Common mistakes made with orientation programs and how to avoid them

Every employer has a new hire onboarding process, whether they manage it or not. What impact do your practices have on your employees' productivity and retention? Isn’t it time you found out?

Click here to register.