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Intergenerational relations—a strength for society and business

  • 27.02.2018

Fostering ties between senior generations and the younger generations Y and Z is no easy task. And yet, dialogue between these generations is essential for transferring skills at companies. It can even provide a key to innovation. The banking sector has grasped this fact: BNP Paribas notably decided to launch an intergenerational network to enrich its collective intelligence.

A trend in society and business

Between 2015 and 2020, five million seniors will leave the job market in France, while six million young workers will join it. A massive wave of generational replacement will take place, leading to a new situation—four generations will work under the same roof at large corporations. Without proper management, this situation may cause problems. But if it is acknowledged and optimized, it will become a powerful asset.

In fact, in 2015, OMIG, an consultancy on intergenerational management, published a survey showing that 85% of companies “can boost efficiency substantially by improving relations between generations”. 

Intergenerational relations, reestablishing the connection

Intergenerational relations refer to the transmission of experience and knowledge between people of different ages, for the benefit of companies, families, and society at large. Processes for intergenerational sharing are currently enjoying increased momentum and can be found at work in many projects led by urban areas and municipalities, and even within companies. 

Intergenerational relations foster greater social cohesion, stronger solidarity and more productivity at work. Dialogue between generations can even constitute a powerful growth driver

Intergenerational management in practice

Intergenerational management aims to benefit from everyone’s experience to improve the application of best practices by all. But, turning theory into practice, how should managers treat teams made up of different generations? 

Some practices have already proved their value, such as mentoring (seniors accompanying juniors and sharing their experience), as well as reverse mentoring (younger employees helping senior colleagues master new technologies or new work methods). But to get all employees involved in this dynamic, companies need to implement informational campaigns to explain generational questions. These may include training, organizing events, networking and more. 

Promoting intergenerational management within the Group and beyond  

BNP Paribas has combined events and networking to integrate intergenerational issues into the Group’s diversity policy. Intergenerational concerns also influence the Group’s external relations, projects supported by the Group’s Corporate Foundations, offers developed for its customers, etc.

  1. BNP Paribas created Wegenerations,  an intergenerational network for employees
  2. BNP Paribas Asset Management promotes investments in social and intergenerational housing through Impact Investing  aiming to promote social value creation 
  3. The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation encourages intergenerational housing by supporting the “1h/1m2” project,  encouraging seniors to host an exchange student in return for domestic assistance 
  4. The BNP Paribas Fortis  Foundation (Belgium) provides support to projects aiming to foster intergenerational ties. With the Foundation Awards, BNP Paribas Fortis gives awards to projects focusing on “intergenerational education and solidarity”

To wrap up, let’s not forget that intergenerational dialogue will help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN

During the “Dialogue between generations on the Sustainable Development Goals” organized at the UN headquarters in New York on August 1, 2017, Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, declared: “Aging populations must work with younger generations to favor the kinds of successful and mutually beneficial intergenerational relations and partnerships that are crucial to any well-integrated society.” 

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