Cross Gen at the Workplace Series – Point of view 2 – Corina Kinzel
Co-authored by Corina Kinzel and Bert Schulze
Welcome back to our series about cross generations at the workplace. This time, we’re going to hear from Corina Kinzel how she experiences her everyday life at work with regards to her motivation, communication habits, the role social media plays, and much more.
My name is Corina Kinzel and I live in Sandhausen, near Walldorf, Germany. After I’ve completed my bachelor’s degree in Translation Studies at the University of Heidelberg, I studied Language and Communication at the University of Mannheim which helped me to gain insights into various fields. While I took diverse classes around German studies, I could also complete some courses in Media and Communication Studies as well as Psychology.
After an internship of 6 months, I started working as permanent employee in September 2016 at SAP. Since then, I’ve been part of the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Product Management Team. I love working in this team because ever since the beginning every day has been different. If all days were the same, I’d have trouble getting out of bed. In that context, I might fulfill one of the stereotypes that sticks to millennials. But I am sure, this also applies to people of all generations. Diverse work – which is challenging at the same time – makes me run. Even if I have not successfully mastered a task, I feel challenged to strive for better results next time.
Another big criterion which motivates me is a good leader. What makes a good leader in my eyes? A good leader has to be fair and be a person I can look up to as a role model. This entails that competency goes along with the ability to execute. I appreciate a person I can talk to and trust – regarding work-related topics as well as personal feelings which influence my performance. I think that an ideal leader should be able to recognize my abilities and make full use of them. When I started working in my team, I was mainly engaged in communication and social media topics. One of my tasks is the set-up, coordination, and to some extent also the successful delivery of video and blog creation for our quarterly SAP S/4HANA Cloud releases. Of course, one could argue that this was a perfect fit. My area of responsibility was definitely not just a coincidence as I studied communications which was partly also related to media. Nevertheless, being right in the middle of a Product Management Team, I also wanted to learn more about our product itself. The easiest way for me to learn is to jump in at the deep end and just do it. This is how I started with my new project of being a single point of contact for Enterprise Portfolio and Project Management, an area of our product SAP S/4HANA Cloud. What’s most crucial for me is that I can contribute to our success. That means for me: never stand still! You can only evolve when you permanently educate yourself and tackle new challenges. An ideal leader should therefore realize my aim to further develop my skills, and constantly challenge me outside my comfort zone.
My communication habits & the role of social media
What’s also playing a major role is having a good relationship with my colleagues as this makes work even more enjoyable. Many of my direct colleagues are based in the headquarters in Walldorf, which allows face-to-face meetings – my favorite way of communicating. Face-to-face communications doesn’t only allow my own facial expressions and gestures, but I can also see the reactions of my conversation partners, and can react accordingly.
As a global company, the people I collaborate with day in day out are spread across the globe, where I do not have the luxury of frequent face-to-face meetings. Whenever distance doesn’t allow face-to-face meetings, I highly appreciate the possibility to exchange on different topics remotely via Skype using screen sharing.
Besides Skype, there are several other communication channels which can be used to communicate. Just think about social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. Before I started working at SAP, I only used facebook for private purposes, and I never actually thought about other platforms. One of my tasks in my job is to drive communication topics for every single release of our product so that our customers and prospects are always up to date. Therefore, we make full use of blogs and videos which we position on highly consumed platforms. This was the time when I began to think about ways how to best distribute the news around our product SAP S/4HANA Cloud. And let me tell you this: it can’t get easier to exchange on topics than on social media platforms. Once I had an established network, which of course grows over time and not within a week or two, I could easily tweet and retweet the content I wanted to share. This way, not only I can position my own topics, but I can always stay on top of the latest information which is shared by my network, allowing me to see the world from a new perspective without developing tunnel vision for my own product. I believe that social media is a powerful tool to convey content to a broad audience, and vice versa to be up to date on super-hot topics.
I, personally, don’t use platforms like LinkedIn for self-positioning. Of course, I’m aware that what I express, and the way I express myself has a huge impact on how other people perceive me. Whereas I love my job and am not waiting for a headhunter to find me, I know that especially in this day and age it is important to be flexible and adapt to ever changing environments. The structure of the company, new technologies, and new trends require me to keep up in order not to fall behind. Especially SAP – as a software company – has to cope with the changing requirements to stay ahead of competition. Therefore, the reorganization of structures combined with new topics and tasks are common at SAP. Obsolete tasks disappear and new ones are created. This means an everchanging environment but it also makes work as exciting as it is.
In a nutshell, I would summarize that I personally don´t have a significant deviation in motivation, use of social media and ambitions than what I hear from colleagues of other generations. However, I do believe that millennials can accustom themselves a lot easier to social media as they simply grew up with the internet and the possibilities provided. As I stated above, though, this doesn’t mean that we actually do use the internet to the full extent, but maybe our Generation X is ahead of us.
If you want to follow us, you can find us on
Corina Kinzel Twitter @CorinaReise and LinkedIn
Bert Schulze Twitter @BeSchulze and LinkedIn