By | Anju Rakesh
I ended up catching the contemporary classic ‘The Intern’ for the nth time on Prime videos, last week. It is amazing that every re-run of this Robert De Niro – Anne Hathaway magic, leaves me with an interesting learning dimension. When I watched it for the first time, what I remember ringing a bell (loud and clear!) was that as a woman professional, I need not feel guilty of wanting the two worlds of a home and a career, of wanting to have it all! The second time around, it was on how age is just a number and if we are truly intentional, we can continue doing impactful work even as we walk into our seventies and eighties.
This time when I watched it against the backdrop of COVID induced VUCA, the key take-away the movie left me with was the potential of inter-generational collaboration. As a researcher in the field of Diversity & Inclusion, generational diversity has been a strand of key interest to me. After every productive meeting at work, I would be amazed at the diverse perspectives team members bring, owing to the different generational experience they have. Suffices to say that the case for generational diversity has been consistently reinforced at work and at home!
At Avtar, we have also been conducting various researches on generational diversity in India and have been successful in identifying the India specific generational cohorts (There are deviations from the generational categorizations followed in the West, primarily because cohorts are usually defined based on shared generational experiences and in the Indian context, the impact of the L-P-G (Liberalization-Privatization-Globalization) wave on generational segregation has been tremendous.). The generational cohort classification for India, that our research has led to are:
- Veterans (Born between 1920-45)
- Free-Gens (Born between 1946 – 1960)
- Gen X’s (Born between 1961 – 1970)
- E-Gen’s (Born between 1971 – 80)
- Gen Y’s (Born between 1981 – 90)
- Gen Z (Born after 1990)
You can read more about our research on inter-generational competence in India.
So what is the connection between generational diversity and ‘The Intern’? There is the obvious backdrop of two conflicting generations, separated by around 40 years, learning from each other. Then there are cues, little emotional ones on how the wisdom and perspectives, that age gifts one with can be leveraged to handle crisis and arrive at solutions. There are many instances of acceptance and acknowledgment, terrific catalysts of the inclusion ecosystem.
It is important that organizations looking into inclusive recovery and growth in the post COVID era nurture this strand of diversity, leverage the full potential of intergenerational competence and constructively manage intergenerational conflicts. Let the ‘age-old’ walls fall, you would end up meeting the synergistic outcome of greater innovation and a culture of organic mentoring (in all directions!)
About the Author
Anju Rakesh is Assistant Vice President, Research and Solutions at Avtar, India’s premier Diversity & Inclusion Solutions firm. An HR Researcher, Anju holds a B. E in computer Science from India’s premier Engineering institution – BITS, Pilani. A listed co-inventor of two patents at the USPTO, as part of team Avtar, Anju has led several research studies in Diversity and Inclusion.