Companies and workplaces have undergone tremendous transformations in the past few years. They are being transformed due to the presence of five generations co-existing and co-working at worksites today. In 2000, we just had traditionalists, baby boomers, and Gen X present in the organizations. However, today, we have two more generations- Gen Y and Gen Z as a significant share. Most recently, the pandemic has shown that there is another generation to add to these generations. It’s the Covid generation.
Benefits of having a generationally diverse workforce
In today’s world, where things are changing so dynamically, it’s more important than ever to embrace Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) by accepting different points of view. Attracting diverse talent can help bring that melting pot of ideas together.
- Diverse inputs are the main advantage of a generationally diverse workforce. People coming from different walks of life have different ways to look at things. This becomes essential when a company is trying to satisfy a diverse customer base.
- Designing a product for a wider population, including all generations, becomes easy as a generationally diverse workforce makes it easier to understand the pain points and needs of a different generation.
- Each generation has a different set of knowledge and ideas to offer which are fundamentally different from other generations. Having generation diversity can lead to knowledge sharing, which can be significantly valuable for other colleagues and the organization as a whole.
Corporates excelling in taking advantage of generational diversity
SAP India Ltd.
SAP India has introduced new concepts and practices to lead a culture of inclusion and innovation in the company. At SAP, they believe that people policies need to evolve through the ACTS framework. ACTS, which essentially means Articulate what problem you want to solve, Consensus, drive Consensus by getting focus groups working on that problem, Target experiments, and Scale those experiments. SAP approach has evolved from diversity to inclusion, to belonging. SAP is one of the few organizations that have five generations working together and are working very seamlessly. Platforms like speed mentoring are provided to the younger workforce to go through mentorship with different leaders. It is a short period of mentorship, where the idea is to provide clarity in the younger workforce’s mind. Reverse mentoring is another such program. Two people from two generations are brought together through a buddy program for a certain period. For example, a 20 years experienced leader is made a buddy with two years of the experienced younger employee. These programs have not only met the business objective of understanding the two generations, but it also has helped in creating a better work environment in the organization.
Intuit refreshed its values which focused importance on diversity, inclusion and creating a respectful environment for everyone. They began by enabling employees from different walks of life at different stages of their career lifecycle to come together and work as equals. This allows them to bring their ideas to the table, have healthy conversations, have a debate, lead with data, and at the same time ensuring that they’re always empowered to bring their ideas to life. Intuit also has an interesting Great Place to Work Ambassadors community which is a great example of multigenerational D&I in the workplace. The ambassador community has been widely successful in replicating the success of various best practices across teams and business units. The community owns a lot of end-to-end programs which have been entirely conceptualized and executed from scratch. “They have leveraged listening as a core principle that is driving transformation. And, the ownership and empowerment that has been bestowed by the leadership as an enabler for that change”. Although millennials make up for a significant part of this community, they do have senior and experienced folks who are helping streamline the raw energy that people are bringing in. At all levels, they are striving to bring together initiatives, efforts, and engagements which are meaningful
to all the employees.
Moving forward with generational diversity
Each generation has a different way of communicating and different expectations from their employers, whether it is the advancement of various opportunities available to them or opening new opportunities. When it comes to cross generations, there is a need to think about time and not just about age. Time means the richness of the experience of the people. There are graduates, interns, students, jiggers, freelancers, societal elements, and each one of these experiences brings a new thing into the organization.
SAP India and Intuit are the Great Place to Work® recognized organization which were able to not only identify multigenerational talent but also utilize them to gain an advantage for their organization by actively nurturing and engaging with them.
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