Because I am a Millennial who has all the typical Millennial characteristics, I never thought about the differences among generations until I ended up on an internal audit engagement with colleagues who belong to different generations than mine.
My first impression in this situation was surprise at the different views the team members had about relevant aspects of work. For instance, while I was used to doing all the communication electronically, other members of the team communicated exclusively face-to-face and through paper documents. It was the same situation with workpapers and meeting minutes of the engagement.
This situation bothered me very much. I had the impression that we were too slow and actually going in totally different directions as our engagement progressed. One day I decided to present my way of working to other team members and ask them to do the same, so that we could come to conclusions about the optimal way of working. Although this idea was not accepted on my first attempt, we finally came to an agreement.
After the presentations took place, I was fascinated how easily we all agreed about the optimal way of working. It was a combination of the two approaches we had. While the communication methods from my approach were accepted as faster and easier, the relevant audit procedures were built together, as well as the optimal way of presenting the results of our work and writing the audit report.
This situation made me think about the significance of work among different generations. Although we sometimes think the differences cannot be reconciled, that is not actually true. My experience has taught me that a person's working experience cannot always be replaced by or compensated with modern approaches and use of technology. On the other hand, many aspects of internal audit work can be done faster and easier by changing the approach and using new technology.
Now I believe different generations can and should work together. It is just important to find an adequate way of reconciling methods and approaches. In that way, synergy for the whole engagement can be achieved.
What is your opinion about different generations working together? Have you had such experiences? Please share them.