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Talkin' 'Bout My Our Generation

By Bonnie Poindexter

From conference rooms to lunch-rooms, we see all ages at work and play at Northrop Grumman. Generational diversity opens doors wider so teams and projects can benefit from a broad mix of thoughts and experiences. With a highly mature and rapidly growing workforce, there’s a challenge ensuring that deep technical knowledge is passed down within the ranks.

Bridging generational gaps is the first step. That is the mission of Gen2Gen, the company’s employee resource group whose members are dedicated to better connecting employees of all ages and career levels.

“Tenured professionals hold the cards when it comes to knowledge,” says Coleman, Systems Engineering manager in Azusa, Calif., and Gen2Gen’s Aerospace Systems sector chair. “When they reach out within their organizations and initiate mentoring partnerships, you can’t put a price on what that’s worth.”

“Never discount the newbies.
They bring a fresh perspective.
They’re technically savvy.
And they’re usually among the first to raise their hands
and jump in with both feet.”

Coleman
Systems Engineering Manager

Employees with rare skills are strongly encouraged to develop personal connections with their next generation and interact regularly to help others learn and develop. For our distinguished technical leaders, doing this is part of their role.

“Mid-career employees offer a wealth of experience too,” Coleman continues. “And never discount the newbies. They bring a fresh perspective. They’re technically savvy. And they’re usually among the first to raise their hands and jump in with both feet.”

Knowledge sharing often works best on an individual level, meaning that a scaled single solution is not effective for the entire sector.

“Every site and organization approaches this differently,” Coleman explains. “But there are definitely some standardizations on which we are building. Gen2Gen is currently developing a guide highlighting knowledge sharing best practices within functional management, Human Resources and the company’s Diversity and Inclusion team. The guide will leverage experiences from ERG members about their own mentoring journeys.”

Coleman continues, “We bring employees together for technical challenges and other events to showcase and share their skills, hobbies and interests. Whenever we can cross generational boundaries, personal connections are formed, and those connections pave the way for knowledge sharing. Trust increases as employees get to know one another better. That’s where we start.”