Intergenerational Diversity & Reverse Mentoring, in conversation with Niven Al-Khoury
In any kind of organization, attaining a common goal, and making sure that people work together by understanding and accepting each other, are key. In other words, silo-busting is extremely important — getting rid of bias and barriers to creating a common, solid unit.
Today we are in conversation with Niven Al-Khoury, who is sharing the importance of intergenerational diversity. She further shares her unique and interesting experience with reverse mentoring.
Niven, given your background, we know the importance you place on cultural diversity and innovation. However, not many know about the value you place on intergenerational diversity and reverse mentoring, Tell us more about these.
“Diversity comes in so many shapes and colors — yet most dialogues focus on gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity. They are of course extremely important — but we mustn’t forget generational diversity. It is another dimension of diversity that all organizations should have on their agenda.
“Every generation within the workforce have their strengths — from the baby boomers to generation X, Y and Z — everyone brings something unique to the table. Every generation brings forth a different perspective and has so much to learn from each other. The younger generations have been born and bred in the tech era and have strongholds on social media and mobile app skills. The older generations possess a different, yet equally, important skill set. They have in their resumes, years — if not decades, of work experience. They usually have long-standing relationships with customers and suppliers and have usually acquired valuable leadership skills along the way. For each generation to be able to get the best from each other, having an open mindset, curious spirit, and willingness to embrace change is extremely important.
“Oftentimes, hierarchical structures within organizations tend to create divisions and prevent generations from effectively interacting and understanding each other. This makes intentional encouragement of intergenerational mingling and diversity all the more important.
“My experience with reverse mentoring was very enriching. I was paired with a young talent from digital transformation. I learned so much about what this generation values and expects from life and their career. My conversations with him were very interesting, the way he looked at situations versus the way I do — both distinct but both valuable. It was a great learning experience indeed. I gathered interesting insight into how this generation sorts their priorities, what their purpose is, and what motivates them. Their communication style is distinct, their leadership style unique, and their style of managing their career is different from ours as well. Gathering a better understanding of this generation loops me back to diversity and inclusivity. Understanding and accepting their mindset helped me better bust that silo. Further, this experience taught me a lot about digital transformation and it’s speedy entrance into most aspects of a business.
“As it has been said before, diversity is having everyone at the party, inclusion is making sure everyone is dancing. You can hire diverse teams — but that is only the bare minimum. The value is recognized when engagement is ensured.”
Thank you for sharing, Niven.
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