Are the generations connected or entangled? Cross generations at the workplace
Have you ever heard the saying, “two sides of the same coin?” Indicating there are two ways of looking at the same thing, maybe two different interpretations of the same event?
The Millennial generation (also named Generation Y) is the largest employee group today. During the last decade, there was a lot of talk about the revolution that would occur when this next generation entered the workplace. A revolution was predicted that would influence the corporate culture significantly. In this blog, let’s take a look at where things stand today.
Born between the 80’s and 90’s, members of Generation Y grew up with the omnipresence of mobile communication and the internet; unlimited access to information anywhere and anytime.
Furthermore, some were raised by helicopter parents who took an overprotective or excessive interest in their lives. As a result, their behavior can lean towards overindulgence and lacking in resilience. It was said that classical incentive models will be replaced by self-determination as the new status symbol and that loyalty to an employer is a relic from the past. Enough stereotypes? If not, here is the list of more.
There’s no doubt that the workplace would change, but what really took place?
We saw that employees, who did not belong to the new raising workforces, were struggling to find their place in the conversation. Many felt overshadowed by the premature praise of the coming generation and struggled to understand why (e.g. simple participation becomes something rewardable in the new world). Again, there are many stereotypes. You can find more here.
In the past years, I had the pleasure to run various teams at different companies. Today, I lead the SAP S/4HANA Product Management Co-Innovation team at SAP. In this role, my team drives Co-innovation with customers and partners for SAP´s ERP SaaS offering, built for the Digital Economy. As the senior leader, I oversee a diverse team of 25 people across all 4 generations (age spans between 22 and 60) and many nations (Indians, Europeans, Americans, just to mention a few).
In my mind, the combination of various generations is like two sides of the same coin. And if you flip this coin over, you might be in for a surprise.
Cross-Generational Intelligence, SAP´s X-Gen Mentoring Program
Over the past few years, as new generations joined us, I was curious about their point of view, their expectations and observations and was eager to bust some myths of the past: In addition, I wanted to get people´s point of view, that represented the Generation X, born between ~ 1965 to 1984 ´ and how they felt about the new workforce.
SAP recently launched a program with the goal to celebrate all generations within our company by providing a platform in which employees from different generations form pairs across generations. Mentor and mentee will provide distinct generational and personal perspectives on a variety of work-related matters and gain valuable insights from each other.
This triggered a vital conversation in my team and motivated us to this blog series with the goal to move beyond bias and myth bust stereotypes.
To set levels from the beginning, within our team we have the advantage of all generations working closely together, and we collaborate with multiple generations of employees and customers each day. It´s not at all what pessimists have predicted.
Rather, it´s the best of both worlds that shapes our results. Across generations we can learn and inspire each other and encourage organizational & business growth.
But let´s listen to what the people from different generations have to say. During the upcoming weeks, we will hear from them personally as they share their point of view.
Spin the Coin to see, in the blur, a single shiny occurrence
If you take the coin and spin it … in the blur, you will see one single shiny coin. Only if we bring all generations together we will win as a team. Organizations need to adopt quickly to get the best of both worlds working together.
Various generations have already changed life at work and left their footprint on our company’s culture. But, I can tell you from experience that it’s nothing employers or managers should be concerned about – diversity and inclusion are important to employee engagement, customer satisfaction and innovation, which is the key to future success.
Here within this blog I will provide you over the course of the upcoming weeks with the interview links…
Selection of interviews
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 1 – Katharina Stopf
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 2 – Corina Kinzel
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 3 – Veena Venugopal
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 4 – Angela Krenkler
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 5 – Reshmi Paul
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 6 – Isabel Brendenahl
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 7 – Heike Weiss
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 8 – Saimadhav Suryadevara
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 9 – Katharina Hellmich
Cross Generations at the Workplace Series – Point of view 10 – Joachim Stein
Cross Generations at the workplace Series – Summary