Central Texas entrepreneur, leader, funeral home owner, and philanthropist Chris Putnam successfully defended his research dissertation, “A Leader’s Perspective to Retaining Millennial Workers: A Qualitative Triangulation of Job Embeddedness Theory and Leader-Member Exchange,” to earn his PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in organizational leadership from Northcentral University on November 28, 2018. Dr. Putnam also holds a MBA and BA in Business Administration from Ottawa University and a Diploma of Funeral Service from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service.
Dr. Putnam has spent the last ten years studying generational theory. In choosing his dissertation topic, he explains that “Each generation has distinctive characteristics and expectations. Baby boomers and generation Xers who have been in leadership roles for several decades have experienced the frequent turnover of the millennial generation. Little to no research is available from the older generations’ perceptions of the younger generation, however, millennial perception is abundant. I wanted to fill a research gap from a leader’s perspective as to why millennials “job hop” more frequently than other generations. Moreover, as a small business owner, I find it essential to understand how to retain millennial workers. According to the Small Business Administration, millennial turnover costs American small businesses $64 billion dollars annually.”
Dr. Putnam’s research participants included members of the baby boomer and generation x generations who were small business owners in Central Texas and employed millennials. He found these leaders expressing frustration over a perceived lack of work ethic. Given the lack of existing information, most of the leaders did not have a specific strategy to improve relationships and increase retention; and the strategies they did employee contrasted significantly with what little literature exists that pertains to supervision and mentoring across generations.
Based on his research and conclusions, Dr. Putnam believes that there is a huge misunderstanding and communication barrier between the various generations. The millennial generation is a very ambitious and productive group that walks to the beat of its own drum. The baby boomer generation is very similar, and much can be learned about its influence. The size of both the baby boomer and the millennial generations is squeezing the smaller generation X and forcing its members to acclimate and adapt to both generations to be successful. And for those generation Xers who have waited patiently for their baby boomer supervisors to pass them the torch, they will be sorely disappointed when it is the millennial who grabs it from them.
Dr. Putnam thanks his wife Jessamyn for supporting him through his doctoral experience. The four-and-a-half-year journey was full of studying, teaching at Schreiner University and Central Texas Community College, and research engagements that came with emotional highs and lows. He also thanks his children: Liam, Connor, and Anson for the missed evenings and weekends and life interruptions his goal caused. Last by not least, he wants to recognize and thank his Putnam team: Jim Simmons, Eli Heatley, and Brittany Carrington, for picking up his slack and maintaining an extraordinary level of service at Putnam. Dr. Putnam’s research broadened the theories of job embeddedness and leader-member exchange and he plans to apply his findings to the Putnam organization and teach other business and organizational leaders how to increase employee retention by using positive relationships and encouraging a work-life balance.
Dr. Putnam launched the Putnam brand with Putnam Funeral Home in Kingsland, Texas in 2000. After adding in a crematory in 2006 that is now the only crematory in the Highland Lakes area, Dr. Putnam opened Cremation Advocates by Putnam in Marble Falls in 2017 as a contemporary and alternative approach to a funeral home and opened Bertram Funeral Home in 2018. Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory, LLC is located at 145 Texas Avenue in Kingsland, 325-388-0008, www.PutnamCares.com,; Cremation Advocates by Putnam is located at 206 Ave. H, Suite#204 in Marble Falls, 830-798-8413, www.CremationAdvocates.net; and Bertram Funeral Home is located at 1010 East TX-29 in Bertram, 512-355-8201, www.PutnamCares.com. Putnam is a member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes, National Funeral Directors Association, the Cremation Association of North America, the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association, National Association for Grieving Children, and Business Network International.
For more information or to request Dr. Putnam as a speaker, please email him at [email protected] or call him at 325-388-0008.