Generational diversity in teams: the key to becoming more competitive and innovative
The purpose of this annual celebration is to highlight the value of cross-generational solidarity, which aims to boost the inclusion and participation of older adults so that they can contribute to today’s society and, thereby, foster greater cooperation between generations. This date takes on even further significance when considering data from the WHO, which states that, between 2020 and 2030, the percentage of the world’s population over 60 years of age will increase by 34 percent. In other words, by 2030, one in six people in the world will be 60 or older.
Each year, April 29th marks the celebration of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations. This celebration was established in 2009 thanks to the support of organizations such as AGE Platform Europe and the European Youth Forum.
Celebrations like these help us raise awareness of the importance of fostering relationships and cooperation across generations so that young and older adults can share their experiences and skills. This is the basis of our operations at MAPFRE, with a global team, made up of five generations of employees.
Solidarity during COVID-19
Faced with the experiences of the past two years, solidarity and cooperation between generations have become more important than ever. Now, after the social isolation we all had to endure—especially our elders—perhaps it will be easier for us to reflect on how enriching cooperation between the young and old truly is.
Despite all the bad times the pandemic brought us, we have also learned to be more supportive than ever. We have witnessed how the youngest amongst us helped the elderly with gestures as simple as doing their shopping or helping them to use new technologies to remain connected with their loved ones during the lockdown.
Elsewhere, as a result of social distancing, we have also seen a growing use of new technologies, such as video calls and online shopping, and accelerated digitalization in many businesses. All these factors have contributed to the emergence of the “digital divide,” which affects to a greater extent those who have more difficulties in the digital environment, i.e., our elderly.
Cross-generational cooperation for inclusion
At MAPFRE, we are a global team of employees from five different generations, a circumstance that enriches the cross-generational exchange of knowledge and values. We operate in an environment based on diversity and cross-generational cooperation, with a unique challenge:
- Building an inclusive culture and enabling different generations to share knowledge.
- Recognizing and leveraging the strengths and skills of all available talent, regardless of age, so that everyone can improve and enrich our work with their diverse perspectives.
- Implementing work models that meet our employees’ specific needs, considering their stage in life.
We value senior knowledge
At MAPFRE, we value the talent and knowledge of our most senior figures with initiatives such as the Ageing Project to establish a workplace that capitalizes on all talent throughout the organization, regardless of age. This initiative harnesses specific programs to promote the professional development, employee experience, and social well-being of this age group.
It was designed in Spain in 2019, and in 2020, it started with a quantitative and qualitative diagnostic (analyzing employees’ demographic and organizational information and the opinions of senior talent). In 2021, the Master Plan was designed along three lines of action:
- Fostering senior talent: our aim is to tap into all senior talent in the organization with specific programs that help encourage a pro-aging culture and bridge the digital divide mentioned above.
- Transition to retirement: we want people approaching retirement to have social protection and financial planning to reach retirement in good financial health. To do so, we implement actions that promote awareness of the aging process itself and hold financial training actions that guide people on how to adequately prepare for their retirement.
- Flexibility in working conditions: taking into account their stage of life, we will work on the implementation of new formulas for gradual disengagement and new flexible models of access to retirement that allow people to balance work and personal life.
In 2021, the Haz Foundation published the “2021 Senior Career and Talent” report, which, for the fourth year running, analyzes how senior talent (people over 50 years of age) is managed in IBEX 35 companies, taking into account the life cycle of an employee from hiring to departure from the company. According to the report, MAPFRE has made generational diversity a priority, which has allowed us to receive the highest score—18 points out of 30—giving us pole position in a ranking in which more than half of IBEX 35 companies are below this mark. The report also underscores that we are one of the few IBEX 35 companies to publicly acknowledge internal initiatives that promote a special working environment where older employees can pursue retirement- and family-related activities.
Cross-generational knowledge exchange
We organize mentoring programs in traditional and reverse formats to encourage knowledge exchange between different generations. In the case of traditional mentoring, more experienced people transfer their knowledge and experience to younger people. Conversely, inverse mentoring involves the mentor (junior digital figure) supporting the mentee (senior figure) in developing digital skills, using technological tools and collaborative platforms, knowledge of digital trends, and using social networks. We also belong to different working groups that promote the development of senior talent, such as the Generation & Talent Observatory or the Diversity Labs organized by Fundación SERES for its different member companies. Organizers hold workshops related mainly to Gender Diversity and Generational Diversity whose main objective is bring about equal opportunities in the workplace by serving all groups and generating inclusive environments from a strategic business approach.
We bolster cross-generational relations
Celebrating this day is a way of raising awareness and bolstering cross-generational relations as a factor that enhances an active and positive way of aging and enriching each other. While today, April 29th, is the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, we must remember to show solidarity every day and allow older people to continue contributing to development if they wish to do so. By supporting this initiative, you can help to encourage society to reimagine the concept of cross-generational solidarity and highlight the opportunities offered by promoting mutual cooperation and interaction between generations, which will allow us to share skills, values, and experiences, and, ultimately, make a difference together.