Ageing is as unique as you yourself and has innumerable facets - the numerous participants at the meeting of the Diverse Energy Netzwerk all came to this conclusion on 20 June 2017 at Vattenfall in Berlin. This time everything revolved around the topic of ‘demographic change’.
Everyone is talking about the demographic change and it not only matters to sections of society but to everyone one of us. Due to the major relevance, also at Vattenfall, the companywide network, Diverse Energy, issued invitations to a colourful network meeting which took place in the middle of June. The high number of participants totalling almost 80 people and the great deal of enjoyment during discussions confirmed this is topical in the company.
Katja Müller, Head of Leadership Management at LEAG, Gabriele Ehrlich, HR Director at Vattenfall GmbH and Rainer Kruppa, chairman of the group’s works council and Ulf Stockmeier, Head of HR at BU Heat Berlin, among others, took part. Sylvia Hütte-Ritterbusch and Frank Weber from the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen gave a talk about how other companies are advancing towards this topic with a best practice example.
In her talk, Katja Müller made it clear from the outset that there could be no room for thinking in stereotypes when dealing with the question of age. She said that a change in perspective which extends beyond the generations, coupled with appreciation and autonomy, in particular in the workplace, would create unexpected potential and consequently new and effective ways of working.
Ulf Stockmeier also reported about opportunities within age diversity and cautioned against age homogeneity in the company: “The aim of our work within the business unit with regard to dealing with the topic of demographic change is to promote mutual openness, willingness and mutual good intentions.”
The project called ‘EY ALTER – time to get to know yourself’, which was launched by Daimler, is also attempting to bring about a paradigm shift in society and the world of work. Based loosely on the motto of ‘getting out of the comfort zone’, the variety of age in society and within the company should be experienced. He said that age is merely a common term which often only leads to unwarranted fears in society. Under the heading of ‘paradigm shift’, it is primarily about dismantling the shortfall hypothesis regarding the topic of age(ing) and therefore demonstrating the associated opportunities. Within the framework of the series of events entitled ‘Human beings take centre stage: YES!’ More than 2,300 Daimler managers were sensitised to this issue.
During a panel discussion, there was a lively discussion with the guests in the hall. Gabriele Ehrlich stressed the fact that managers should support their employees at every stage of their career in the best way possible and that employees should also proactively and autonomously create their own development possibilities.
One of the many voices from the audience then subsequently got to the heart of the matter: Dirk Rodewald, a network member said, “We can only make things happen if we first analyse where we are today and where we want to go in the future.” At the end, everybody agreed that there was a need for action. The network meeting closed with these words from Rainer Kruppa: “Fear is not allowed”. It is the responsibility of each individual to eliminate fears together in order to experience variety and to take advantage of their opportunities.
Diverse Energy Network was set up in March 2015 and today it is an active, visible and effective network made up of almost 300 Vattenfall employees, which allows a new consciousness regarding topics on integration and differences within the workforce to grow company-wide far beyond gender equality. Diversity & Inclusion at Vattenfall became a company goal across Europe due to this network and is also represented today at the highest management level in the Vattenfall Group as a cross-sectional task.
Janina Grix has been heading up the network since the beginning of 2017, its second year. She has been working for the company for five years in communications focusing on strategic, employee and manager communications. With her Master of Science in Economic Psychology behind her, Janina Grix is working in occupational health management at Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, a subsidiary of the Vattenfall group. The topic of demographics also plays a significant role alongside various health matters.