The power of connection: Generations at work

For Global Intergenerational Week 2024, BCD Travel celebrates the power of intergenerational connections at work. Here’s what our people had to say about belonging, what they value and life at BCD.

BCD’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) council orchestrated a companywide celebration for Global Intergenerational Week 2024. This annual worldwide campaign, observed April 24-30, encourages people to embrace intergenerational practices and relationships. It’s significant for large companies like ours because diverse global workforces contribute to dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable corporate cultures. To show what that looks like at BCD, we spoke to two staffers from different generations but in similar roles. They gave us their perspectives on belonging, what they value most and their BCD experiences.

Generations working together

Dharshika Johnson BCD Team Leader Sri Lanka
Richard Thomas BCD Operations Supervisor UK

Meet Dharshika Johnson, Team Leader based in Sri Lanka, and Richard Thomas, Operations Supervisor, in the United Kingdom. Dharshika joined BCD in 2019. She works in a group that oversees around 390 multi-national agents in four languages and eight countries. Richard has been with BCD since 2016 and helps lead a team of 173 multi-national agents speaking four languages in seven countries.

Richard: I spend half my waking day in work during the week, so it is important to me feel like I belong. My team is large and diverse. I have a few office-based colleagues, but the majority of our staff are home-based. The sense of belonging is comforting, supportive, much like an extended family. We all build connections in our interactions as we are a social being.  

Dharshika: As an individual, I feel valued by making positive connections with others and being able to bring my real self to work.  

Richard: I have a great support network in my role. My line manager is always there to support and help me find solutions, with the backup of the full core management team. I have nine peers with very different areas of expert knowledge. I also have agents who have country and supplier detailed knowledge. When I need to, I can reach out to other departments, People and Culture, Supplier Relations, IT and many more. For me, it’s about making sure I ask the right person for the right support.  

Dharshika: Operations heads in both my department and other departments, as well as colleagues in other departments of a similar role as me.  

Richard: I have observed that different ages within a team can bring a depth of knowledge and life experience. I feel there is some level of deferring to older members of the team, when it comes to areas where life experience is the key skill. For knowledge and skills, I find that we defer to the person who has more comprehensive knowledge in that area. It can take a while to build a healthy dynamic within any peer group. Being the leader of the group is a role that must move around and for me age is just one of the pieces that goes into the mix. 

Dharshika: Numerous characteristics exist, including one’s manner of thinking, body language, working style, level of job knowledge, commitment and behavior. 

Richard: For me the values that are important are: Honesty, candor, integrity, loyalty, and trustworthiness. This phrase is key for me: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

Dharshika: Teamwork, leadership, flexibility, organizational respect and a desire to learn and develop. 

Richard: When we are discussing a new process or a change to an existing process, we all have the chance to offer opinions and make suggestions. We have a healthy level of debate within the team and build consensus. I know my ideas are taken seriously and considered as some of my ideas have been actioned as a team process.  

Dharshika: I am happy with how our senior leadership treats team members equally when it comes to opinions and suggestions.  

Richard: I feel this is a very hard area to assign age as a motivation for someone’s actions. It has been a long time since I decreased the average age in a group. If there has been, it has been at a subconscious level.  

Dharshika: Not at all! It all depends on how well we understand one another and maintain positive relationships inside the team.

The benefits of intergenerational collaboration

The benefits of intergenerational collaboration are already apparent in BCD’s large global workforce. Our more than 15,000 employees represent five generations from the youngest (Gen Z) to the most senior (Traditionalists). Research shows that embracing intergenerational diversity positively influences workplaces and society at large. When employees feel valued and respected regardless of their age, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to the company’s mission. So, fostering a culture of inclusivity and mutual respect:

  • Mitigates age-related biases
  • Reduces turnover rates
  • Cultivates a talent pipeline that reflects the demographics of the communities where we live and do business

By leveraging the unique strengths and insights of each generation, we spark innovation, solve complex problems more effectively, and stay ahead of the curve in rapidly evolving markets.

Want to work with BCD Travel?

Generations working together at BCD Travel

What I like most about working at/for BCD is the confidence, empowerment & belief that the leadership carries in you to get the job done. – Gev Patel, India, Gen X

I’ve been 27 years with BCD. What I appreciate most are the opportunities to grow within the company. I’ve been lucky to have great mentors, great leadership but most of all great colleagues around me, with whom I shared laughter, sweat and tears. – Jean-Francois De Mol, Belgium, Boomer

I love working at BCD as I always feel encouraged to ‘live to live’, not just ‘live to work’. I love that I can do a job I enjoy whilst being able to prioritize the things that matter most to me outside of work (like climbing mountains). There’s a great balance between work and play that I truly cherish. – Katie Foster, Canada, Gen Z

I do appreciate BCD’s work environment. Having such amazing and supportive colleagues makes every day worthwhile. The people you are surrounded by can, literally, change how you feel. I couldn’t be luckier. – Laura Roca López, Spain, Gen Y

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