As part of Reward Gateway’s mission to make the world a better place to work, we are committed to both building a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive environment that values equality for all. One way we do this is through our EPIC Networks - five networks that represent core strands of diversity which exist within our business that offer social, educational and inspirational ways to support and be allies to these communities: Accessibility challenged, LGBTQIA+, Multicultural, Women and Intergenerational.
As a co-leader of the Intergenerational (aka Intergen) Network, our charter is to:
- Provide all RGers with a network that embraces the diversity of our ages and facilitates a culture of inclusion for all employees.
- Be a voice to help and ensure that everyone at RG, regardless of age, has the personal and professional support they need to achieve their goals.
- Ensure RG is positioned for success, internally and externally, by building a workforce that embraces all generations.
What separates us from other Networks, is that we are all members and allies of the cross-section of generations represented at RG. We have employees born in each of these generations: Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1979), Generation Y/Millennials (1980 – 1995) and Generation Z (1996 – 2009). Before we know it, we’ll be working with Generation Alpha: (2010 – 2025).
Given the age diversity of our workforce, the Intergen Network has primarily focused in our first year on driving programs and hosting activities that bring the generations together to share their views and experiences. Sometimes these perspectives differ across the generations and sometimes they’re the same, but we always learn something from one another. Let’s dive into some of the ways we’ve bridged the gap between a multigenerational workforce with technology.
Highlights of our Network programs include:
Intergenerational Social Hours - in support of our charter to "provide RGers of all ages with a network that embraces the diversity of our ages and facilitates a culture of inclusion for all employees," our first activity was a "get to know you" social hour. It was hosted twice to accommodate time zones as Reward Gateway employees are in the U.S., UK, Bulgaria and Australia.
We introduced ourselves and had a mixologist join us to mix drinks (both non-alcoholic and with booze, depending on your time zone and preference!) and do some trivia on the origin of various beverages. It was a fun, engaging hour of social interaction across generations and geographies. The feedback was positive and the attendees asked for more social activities, so we’ll be programming more like this in the future.
Collaborating with Learning and Development team - in order to address our charter to "be a voice to help and ensure that everyone at RG regardless of age has the personal and professional support they need to achieve their goals" we collaborated with our L&D Team to expand upon the existing Bridge Builders mentoring program by incorporating reverse mentoring.
While traditional mentoring is when a more senior and typically more experienced colleague shares their greater knowledge and skills to support the development of another member of staff who’s typically less experienced, reverse mentoring is when employees from diverse groups and backgrounds share their skills, knowledge, and understanding with business leaders.
Among the many benefits, reverse mentoring encourages open-mindedness and honest conversations, it helps develop self-confidence and self-awareness, and develops leadership and communication skills, for both mentors and mentees. The program is now in its second cycle and has received excellent feedback.
EPIC Networks At the Movies - Many of us across generations love movies, so there was a lot of enthusiasm to start a movie discussion group. The Intergen Network took the lead and decided to select movies that represent the communities and issues we support in all of our EPIC Networks.
For our first club, we selected "Pleasantville," the story of 90s-era brother and sister Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon who find themselves sucked into a 1950s television show where everything is black and white, both visually and emotionally. We each viewed the movie on our own, then came together and had an active discussion on how the film portrayed racism, gender roles and sexuality.
For our next movie, we decided to focus on another network's population, the Accessibility Network, and we’ve selected "I Am Sam," a fictional drama about a man who is living with an intellectual disability, who is fighting to keep custody of his daughter after they were abandoned by the mother. I look forward to our discussion of the film’s examination of the social prejudices and stereotypes against people with intellectual disabilities (general developmental delay), and their abilities and rights as parents.
These are just some of the ways the Intergen network is bringing all of the generations at Reward Gateway together to share perspectives, exchange ideas and learn from each other. I look forward to the continued evolution of the network as more employees of all ages join RG and bring with them new and various perspectives and views.
Any ideas on how to bring generations together in new and different ways? We welcome suggestions and ideas to further embrace and engage employees of all ages. Reach out to me on LinkedIn!