MEETING BETWEEN GENERATIONS
By editorial staff
‘Diversity is a Fact, Inclusion is an Act.’Zabeen Hirji, Global Adviser, Deloitte Canada
Diversity in the workplace is a fact. Adopting inclusive behaviours that value every one’s uniqueness is a conscious action. This is one of the key principles Dow embraces in its Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) strategy, which takes a comprehensive approach to inclusion – ALL IN! – and is also directly applied to generational diversity.
In order to promote the sharing of experiences and growth for all, among the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) established by Dow, the internal PRIME networks – for employees over 50 – and RISE – for employees who have been with the company for 8 years or less – promote free and constructive dialogue between different generations in the company.
With this in mind, at Dow Italia we have been focusing for many years on the concept of Inclusion and are committed to exploring the realities of those around us, both in our offices and in production.
Our focus on generational diversity is instrumental in continually improving the employee experience by implementing initiatives both internally and externally. On the internal front, for example, work is being done to reduce the ‘distance’ between younger people and senior employees which, in a chemical plant, may be due to strictly regulated access to production areas or shift work. To do this, discussion groups for different generations, functions and backgrounds have been set up to allow comparison and sharing of experiences and skills.
So intergenerational collaboration, especially in production, happens constantly and more than in other sectors. Dow Italia therefore carries out initiatives that are also compatible with shift work, for example through the collection and dissemination via company channels of video testimonials that
describe how people of different generations interact. And it is precisely from the people in production, who are used to dealing with each other, mentoring/tutoring and reverse mentoring/tutoring, that we learn how to make a better team, in order to take care of young and old, enhancing the characteristics of each.
In terms of external initiatives, Dow Italia is committed to exploring, listening to, and embracing diversity and bringing I&D culture to school and university settings, promoting STEM disciplines, and sharing examples of inclusion both in terms of a stronger company culture and competitive advantage. We pay constant attention to young people by collaborating with trade associations, schools (in the communities where we operate) and leading Italian universities, for example the Politecnico di Milano, where we are present every year at Career Day. Similarly, our production plants host groups of students from Italian and foreign schools and universities.
Another aspect of employees’ lives that involves a direct confrontation between generations is parenthood. Dow Italia is active on several fronts and acts directly to support those who have children or care for family members, with a dedicated global programme that includes paid leave and leave of absence, as well as training for people leaders to support parenting at work in its various stages and thus encourage a better work-life balance.
At Dow Italia, diversity is celebrated as a value and a source of richness. We work on the education of younger generations, investing in them with the ambition that inclusive behaviour may, one day, be part of each individual’s culture.
This will, at last, make it possible to exhaust the debate and the fight against any form of discrimination and exclusion, and to make workplaces truly fair and inclusive.