The Passion Project with a Purpose
In today’s fast-paced business world, immediate solutions and short-term thinking have become a way of life everywhere, including in the space of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). Often businesses expect D&I interventions, initiatives, and programs to yield instant results and magically create an inclusive workplace with improved representation from various diversities, but this is far from reality. True impact and cultural change can only occur over time when it’s intentional and well thought out and when our collective intelligence is focused on learning from each discussion. It is, however, a rarity to see the efforts of D&I be focused and scaled one leader at a time.
As a D&I professional, I have seen that long-term efforts truly pivot the outcome and make such initiatives sustainable and successful. It is with great pride and humility that I share the product of one such effort at @SAP: the publishing of our very first Thought Leadership paper – Unlock The Power of Cross-Generational Inclusion authored by Chandramohan from Technology & Innovation, Yash from Product Engineering and me from People & Operations,
This paper is an attempt to share the journey of cross-generational inclusion at the workplace. We unpack how discussions, workshops, roundtables, and bridge sessions help surface our biases and clear up our assumptions around colleagues and team members older or younger than us.
Our efforts over the past five years are reflected in this paper. It emphasizes the focus areas any leader who wishes to foster inclusion can adopt. These areas could be in their management styles, employee engagement styles, or in their behaviors and actions within a multi-generational workforce.
The paper addresses four realities that have surfaced frequently in our conversations:
- Age prejudice and discrimination
- Gaps in employer and employee expectations
- Changing needs of age cohorts in the employee life cycle
- Need for a sense of belongingness
The paper offers specific recommendations for each of these realities, and also share our own experiences and learnings, with validation from external sources.
This paper has been a passionate collective effort with contributions across teams, geographies, and age groups. Throughout the process, we have held multiple meetings, poked holes in each other’s arguments, given candid feedback, and created a new iteration based on every moment of inspiration and every review. Always with the shared purpose to provide value to the larger world, and be a part of SAP’s purpose to be the most inclusive company in the world.
We’d like to thank the entire team of “Breaking Gen Myth” Trainers at SAP in India, the D&I India team, the HRBPs , our managers, leaders, and all the participants within SAP and outside. We are truly indebted to all these people around us who provided us a safe space to deliver our passion project.
We hope that this paper, will encourage every reader to believe in the power of cross-generational inclusion in the future of the workplace.