IÉSEG launches the first Intergenerational Workshops, mixing PGE students and young graduates with Executive Education participants

Launched in September 2022, the Executive Program in Human Development and Transformation Management has been designed to support companies in their transformation, by developing in their managers and HR directors the human skills and agile posture, that are essential for steering permanent change and producing sustainable performance.

While companies face numerous transformation challenges (economic, social, societal, digital, environmental), one of the major issues they face is the intergenerational challenge. Indeed, four generations (the Boomers, the Xs, the Ys and the Zs) now wotk together within organizations. It is therefore essential for Human Resources Departments, just as for managers in any sector of activity, to know how to get the best out of all these generations. Faced with the limits of ‘GenZ’-type categorizations, it is essential to know how to unify them by drawing on their talents to successfully steer all the transformations in the organization.

That’s why IÉSEG decided to innovate and launched the first “Intergenerational Workshops” as part of the Executive program, as well as a reverse mentoring activity. 8 participants in the Executive Program in Human Development and Transformation Management were paired with a student or a young graduate of the Grande École Program.

Bernard COULATY, Academic Director of the program, explains the concept and its benefits: “Throughout the academic year, these junior/senior pairs met regularly. Each acted as the other’s mentor, providing each other with advice and best practices on how to work better, communicate better, manage better or be better managed by someone from another generation. These moments of exchange, discovery and mutual enrichment were much appreciated, and above all, all the pairs realized that, in the end, there were fewer differences in the expectations and operating methods of each generation than a superficial reading might suggest. Everyone wants meaning in their work, autonomy and responsibility, more communication and horizontal management, and above all to be recognized for their true worth. At the same time, during these Intergenerational Workshops, external speakers (coaches, HR experts…) came to share their best practices and their difficulties linked to the intergenerational issues they encounter, thus provoking new discussions. In the end, everyone appreciated this innovative approach, which breaks down the barriers between programs by bringing together PGE students, young graduates and Executive Education participants”.

The end of the academic year was devoted to the collegial writing of a synthesis, whose presentation to a jury* (also composed of Human Resources professionals and IÉSEG students) was an integral part of the final evaluation of the Executive Education participants. Managing the complexities of long-term work with a large group without a designated leader was also a challenge in itself.

The 16 members of this first Intergenerational Workshop put together an enormous amount of work, and what the jury particularly appreciated was that they strived to highlight the points of convergence rather than the points of divergence. In the 5 key areas of management: meaning and relationships at work, relationships with hierarchy, working environment, and communication – they all endeavored to show what best practices an organization can put in place to optimize intergenerational relations and, ultimately, succeed in involving everyone in the company’s transformation. The jury also greatly appreciated the quality of the work carried out, and the maturity, humility and pragmatism of all the participants, young and older alike. On a personal note, I was impressed by the efforts of everyone, and by the quality of the results. It’s always very difficult to keep things simple, to go back to basics and propose concrete measures that all organizations could put in place to meet the intergenerational challenge in the workplace. The aim of this Executive program is to provide support for human development and transformation management, and thanks to this exercise, the participants all brilliantly met this objective.

Bernard COULATY, Academic Director of the Executive Program in Human Development and Transformation Management

These Intergenerational Workshops are also a different and original way for Grande Ecole Program students and young graduates to discover what Executive Education programs are all about and to potentially reshape their perceptions of them.

Summary of recommendations for intergenerational practice


– Demonstrate critical thinking and challenge one’s own practices
– Respect ethics based on universal values
– Demonstrate agility and adapt to the needs of your colleagues
– Remain attentive and listen to your team – “the other is not you”.
– Know how to give feedback

Meaning & Relationships at work

– Create pairs at each onboarding
– Ask managers to ensure a multi-generational approach
– Create opportunities for social interaction within teams
– Create cross-functional projects
– Create inter-generational meeting rituals

Relationships with hierarchy

– Institutionalize reverse mentoring
– Agree on communication and operating rules at the start of the hierarchical relationship
– Foster team spirit
– Adopt the “management par le vide”
– Inspiring management

Working environment

– Offer employees greater flexibility
– Offer flexible working hours and locations
– Provide the resources needed to adapt to changing work patterns
– Encourage horizontal mobility
– Encourage skills sponsorship
– Enhance the company’s commitment to society by supporting noble causes

Communication and perception

– If we consider the temporal aspect of human life, generations follow one another and pass on their knowledge.
– Accompanying others inevitably involves : Empathetic listening and openness to self and others.
– We believe, however, that the responsibility for the relationship should lie with the (older) adult, as he or she has had more opportunities and experiences to realize the need to access the “best of oneself”.

Members of the jury were : Nicolas HENNON (Co-founder of Chapter-2 and cohort sponsor), Elodie GRANGÉ (HRD), Isabelle REY-FABRET (Hydrogen Development Manager – Vinci), Valérie MARCHADOUR (HRD), Jean-Claude MAZZOCO (CEO of Taman), Raphaëlle IMBACH (Youth Forever), Paul CASTEL (IÉSEG student and School representative at the National Bureau of Students in Management Schools), Jean-Sébastien DUVAUD (IÉSEG student and AEIP President), Bohdan PAWLYSZYN and Bernard COULATY (IÉSEG professors)

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