Intergenerational diversity brings innovation in many ways
It is an exciting period as more generations continue to join the global, diverse workforce. Different generations bring different ideas, experiences, attitudes, and values. People and their talent are our greatest asset for long-term success.
A multigenerational workforce consists of different colleagues of different ages. A generation is typically defined by age boundaries, with those born during a particular era sharing similar experiences, values, and attitudes that shape their behaviors and preferences within the workplace. The idea is to have as many generations working together as possible. In this way, we create a great mix of innovative and fresh ideas combined with skills and knowledge of the industry and its processes. This is called age diversity.
Enabling our colleagues to engage at work whatever their age allows us to solve problems and implement sustainable solutions. We aim to create an inclusive culture and a diverse workforce, an environment in which people are encouraged to speak up and exchange views on any topic. More established colleagues can be role models for their younger colleagues, passing on their wisdom through experience whilst benefiting from interacting with their younger counterparts by bringing new perspectives and learning fresh skills, such as working with technology.
Knowledge, skills and expertise from different age groups matter and it is important to listen to different points of view as this brings innovation in many ways.
Our initiatives around the world
Within Umicore, different initiatives have been set up in the different regions to enable diversity of thought throughout different generations. For instance, the R&D team of the Automotive Catalysts business unit has set up a sounding board of young colleagues to share ideas and thoughts with more senior colleagues. Every six weeks, they debate on strategic topics linked to the business unit and offer their suggestions to senior management for potential further development.
Another initiative that you can find in different regions is the young graduate program. During this two-year program our young graduates gain experience and develop personal skills that will help them grow. This provides Umicore with the opportunity to assess their performance, understand their potential and train them. After the program, they have a permanent position within Umicore in line with their interests and experience. This program is active in Belgium and China and as of next year also in Germany. For the upcoming group in China, there are 11 participants that will join Umicore after studying overseas in Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Our colleagues in Germany also organized workshops as part of their action plan 'making decisions at the lowest level of possible', where participants reflect on their decision-making and where they can have more impact in their respective role. Colleagues from different business units, functions, gender and ages participated and found it a very valuable experience. We also have initiatives like International Youth day and dual learning.
Leveraging the strengths of each generation cultivates a collaborative and engaging environment that prepares Umicore for future business challenges. Together, we build an inclusive, equal, collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment.
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