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Chris Putnam Earns PhD in Business Administration

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 chris@putnamcares.com or call him at 325-388-0008.

What is Your Testament?

by Guest Blogger Chris Putnam

I awoke this morning to complete at least twenty-five tasks before passing out this evening fully exhausted. Somewhere I will fit in a passing kiss for my wife and try to graze my kids with a peck on the forehead or a sideways hug before sending them to the shower and finally to bed. The routine will end after a few reminders and maybe even a few threats to get them to sleep. To credit my wife and I, we do read to our three-year-old before the battle begins to get him asleep every night.

Many of the people reading this blog know I am a funeral director and many have sat with me describing a loved one who recently died. Over the last couple decades, I have heard “he was a hard worker” or “she was dedicated to her job or civic organization” countless times. When I follow up with a second question about hobbies or experiences of which the individual was proud, I am met with a “it was always about work” or “he/she did not fish, travel, hunt, read, etc.” Nothing! Loved ones cannot think of anything except how serious non-family commitments were prioritized over internal family commitments.

The prompt to write this blog post is inspired by two women in different situations. Top Chef contestant and star Fatima Ali announced this week she only has a year to live with or without new chemotherapy treatment. Ali, 29, recently wrote “I was looking forward to being 30, flirty and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose.” She continues by describing a desperate need to “overload my senses in the coming months, … and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before.”

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations announced Nikki Haley her resignation this week.  She offered no reason for the life change other than the perspective that government officials must know “when it’s time to step aside.” Clues to her future are known only by her, but she told President Trump about six months ago she wanted to take a break. Haley referred to herself in the Oval Office resignation interview as “a private citizen.”

One can only speculation how long Haley’s break will last, as the political door remains open. My wish for Haley is to live like she is dying without the dying part. To “overload her senses” as Ali described. My hope for Ali is a treatment or miracle will happen and this all turns out to be a lesson on life perspectives and what is truly important.

Both women are teachers coaching us on how to use time.  What will they say about you? What is your testament? The regret of being self-absorbed and selfish with time is short-lived only when an end of time is in sight.  However, being generous with time and living for yourself, friends, and loved ones is a gift that is priceless.  Maybe a description I hear about you is “he knew when it was time to step aside” or “she was flirty and thriving when 30 and overloaded her senses with every breath.”

©2018 Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory, LLC