As more millennials and Gen Zers begin climbing higher and higher rungs of the workforce, organizations may find their proverbial corporate comment sections heating up with disdainful ‘kids these days’ remarks met with flippant and devastating ‘ok boomer’s. While intergenerational conflicts can’t be completely eradicated, it’s possible to lessen them and even create a more inclusive environment. TELUS International Philippines (TIP) shares how they do it.
Making the right fit
As with most big changes in the workplace, it begins with fostering the right culture and mindset—in this case, recognizing and respecting diversity among employees and their ideas. For example, when TELUS observed that the younger generation employed a “fast is better than perfect” philosophy, and defined success as finding the right role rather than climbing the corporate ladder, they came up with initiatives that would complement these qualities.
Inspired by the principles of design thinking, meetings were made shorter to encourage quick ideation and faster decision-making. Apprenticeship programs encouraged employees to explore new roles in the company, and not necessarily the ones vertical to one’s designation.
They also have their own educational program, TELUS International University (TIU), so that employees can continue learning through a course of their choice. “It is rare to get an opportunity wherein a company supports working students like me to help earn a degree and still become a successful employee,” said Catherine Libante, part of a customer self-service outbound team, who earned a communication arts degree through TIU.
“Self-fulfillment means a lot to me. Because of the initiatives and programs that my company provides, I see greater value in staying since I can still reach my goals and continue to develop my skills.”
Weaving threads together
But adapting to one generation is only half the formula. Recognizing the baby boomers and Gen X-ers in the company, TELUS devised initiatives to strengthen team dynamics.
Through continuous coaching programs, employees are able to receive regular mentorship from their bosses and discuss how best to improve their operations. “The timeliness of our leaders in providing feedback [helped me become] a leader that knows how to handle difficult situations at work,” said Kimberly Catu, a learning services specialist. “[It] also helped me fuel my desire to always improve myself as part of the workforce and as an individual.
They also have regular employee engagement feedback programs where team members can share their concerns and insights, even those that aren’t necessarily work-related.
“Some of the most impactful improvements we’ve implemented in the past years were fueled by team members’ feedback,” said Anne Muñoz, site director for TELUS Araneta and TELUS Discovery Centre. “These include the introduction of gender-neutral washrooms across all TIP sites, expanding our health benefits to cover same sex and domestic partners as dependents, and introducing benefits and programs to support mental and financial well-being.”
In the long run, listening to and engaging with employees pays off—and not just through the bottomline.
“More than focusing on just succeeding business-wise, it is vital for every company to promote collaboration and respect in all aspects of the workplace,” said Muñoz. “Initiatives focused on marrying the needs of the multigenerational workforce with the culture of the company will more often than not, engage everyone and promote a healthy, happy work environment.