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Corporate America's Identity Crisis


Joanna Dodd Massey Ph.D., MBA


Business and Finance

With over 25 years of experience in the media industry at companies, such as Conde Nast, Lionsgate, CBS, Viacom, Discovery and Hasbro, Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D., MBA is a C-level communications executive and Board Director. She has managed brand reputation, corporate turnaround, crisis communications and culture transformation. Currently, Dr. Massey is a communications consultant, as well as Founder & CEO of The Marketing Communications Think Tank. She is a corporate speaker and trainer, as well as author of the books, "Communicating During a Crisis," and "Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations in One Workplace" (TVG Publishing, 2020).

Millennials and Gen Z value a workplace that provides autonomy, equality, and fairness. However, they are not loyal to any one company. Millennials started entering the workforce just two years prior to the Great Recession. Meanwhile, Gen Z watched their parents suffer through the recession. As a result, neither of these generations trust Corporate America or believe that companies will take care of them, as they used to with workers in the 1950s. It is with good reason that today’s young adults have no loyalty to any company.


Thanks to the entrepreneurial and highly connected culture in which we live, many Millennials and especially Gen Z tend to be equally as comfortable working as a freelancer in their given profession, as they are working as a full-time staffer. In fact, many prefer the freelance culture, because it gives them more freedom. This is causing tremendous problems for companies in attracting and retaining talent, which is an expensive problem right now.


Companies are discovering that they must adjust the way they do business in order to attract these two cohorts as consumers and as employees. This adjustment is causing an identity crisis and growing pains for many well-established businesses in all sectors. Many companies are experiencing pushback from older managers, who grew up in a different era, and came into the workplace and followed the rules just as their parents did.


This is why I tell clients, “You raised them, now you have to live with them in the workplace.” Today’s leaders and managers are the parents of the Millennial and Gen Z employees, who are dramatically changing the way we conduct business and sell our products and services. They should be applauded for raising their children to have the strength and conviction to change the status quo. These same parents also need to recognize that they are currently part of the problem.

Change is not comfortable for the majority of human beings; however, these two generations are forcing us all to change dramatically to fit their diverse and woke view of America.


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