“A Federal Family Portrait” and “Reaching Generation C”

This past week, I delivered a couple presentations at the 2009 American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) International Conference and Exposition. Below are the slide decks.

After you’ve had a chance to peruse them, I’d be interested in getting your feedback on a couple key question that arose in all of my sessions:

1. What are the drivers and motivations for older Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) to adopt social media?

2. What kind of education solutions (classroom-based training, one-on-one coaching, etc) are most effective in overcoming the fear and reticence that is largely due to lack of knowledge?

This deck below includes 12 ideas/examples of intergenerational knowledge sharing beginning on slide 21:

Admittedly, there is some overlap on this next slide deck, but the bulk of information about the generations and social media are found in the first 15 slides with the rest being ideas for bridging the age gap:

Thank you in advance for your input!

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Joe Flood

I’m a Gen Xer. That’s a really interesting overview of the generations. I’ve read that a large portion of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire in the next five years. But, as you point out, few of these Boomers will actually retire. So, unfortunately, I don’t see the torch being passed to Gen X/Y!

Another point you make – only 15% of mid-career positions are filled from outside government. Is that healthy for an organization? That percentage seems awfully low to me.

And if you want to read a really funny book about generational conflict, check out Boomsday by Christopher Buckley.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Is the torch going to be passed to Gen X or will the Boomers hang on as long as they can…then pass it to the Millennials? You can see the potential for major conflict already!

Yes – 15% is incredibly low…and a major problem for government. It’s tied to the troublesome, lengthy hiring process in my opinion. Once you’re in, it’s easy to stay in…but it’s hard to break through.

Thanks for the book recommendation…I’ll have to check it out!

K. Scott Derrick

Andy: Very informative! I particularly like the information on generational learning preferences.

Regarding your second question: I would think that blended learning approaches would be an effective way to help overcome fear and reticence in adopting and using social media.


In my own experience with Boomers they really caught on with stuff like email, IM, and text messages because that is the only way their kids would communicate with them. So maybe there is a way to say “Let’s try this stuff at work. It’ll help you communicate with kids/grand kids as well”

Maureen Hetzel

Speaking as a Boomer, what will make it work is exposure, translated into everyday vocabulary that speaks to “what’s in it for me?” The economic reality is causing many to rethink their retirement plans….so reaching this group is so very important. Simple explanations that translate into how I can use these tools to do my job better. Success and personal satisfaction about contributing need to be redefined into being current to expand your reach and impact.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Scott, Steve and Maureen – Thanks for your feedback!

I have been tweeting about this topic today and have received the following input from @danbevarly:

Social – vis contact w/ friends/family
Knowledge -access 2 info/data
Commerce- purchase goods/servcs

Look for another blog post about the results of this conversation next week!