Everyone’s personal values and attitudes are shaped by their family, community and significant events (wars, violence, technology, politics, finance etc.) in their world as they are growing up. The academic world has created a model to review, compare and contrast people born within certain time frames and has developed the “Generation Theory” which links world events with changes in the attitudes and values of the general public.

Baby Boomers are the children of parents that survived 2 World Wars and a long period of economic depression. Their parents worked hard to give them all the things they had not had, in a time of great positive social and scientific change. The recognition that previous generations had sacrificed so much drove baby boomers to prove themselves in the business world, rather than on the battle-field. As they moved into management positions, they worked long, hard hours to create the growth and expansion of organisations that typifies the 70s and 80s.

With their workaholic parents out at work and increasing divorce rates, Generation X were left to themselves to find their own solutions to problems. The first acts of global terrorism (e.g. Munich Olympics), environmental disasters (e.g. Bhopal, Chernobyl), a growing number of political scandals (e.g. Iran – Contra) and the shrinking job market as the boom times ended, created a generation that was sceptical about the “old world order”. Desktop computers became common in the 1980s and Generation X seized this as their opportunity to do things differently. They studied new subjects at university (e.g. computer science, programming) which meant that they could enter the business world with skills that previous generations hadn’t had and make a big difference. As the front runners of the IT world and the first “digital natives”, their bosses were forced to accept Generation X’s casual approach to authority and their insistence that things had to be done differently.

Like the baby boomers, Generation Y grew up in a time of affluence and rapid social change. However, they were the first generation whose parents planned to have them (contraception, maternity leave etc.), who wanted to be “friends” with them (sharing music, activities, decision making etc.) and allowed them to have the longest teenage to adult phase ever. Generation Y saw their parents work long hours to earn money, to buy things they didn’t need, to impress people they didn’t like and have come to realise that free time is more valuable than money. Technology is as natural as air to this generation. They grew up in a world that gave them instant communication (mobile phones) and access to information at anytime, anywhere which gave them a truly global world view.  

As Generation Y entered the upper levels of management in our organisations they became known as “millennials”.

What are the challenges for the older generations?


But having said all that, like every generation, they still need:

Further reading

Bruce Tulgan, 2009: Not everyone gets a trophy: How to manage generation Y.
Zemke, Raines, Filipczak, 2000: Generations at work: Managing the clash of veterans, boomers, Xers and Nexters in your workplace.


A rapidly expanding international manufacturer of high-tech products with 4 subsidiary companies with factories and offices around the world.

The problem

The pace of the organisation’s expansion meant that every year there were up to 100 new recruits who had an international role within their own company but who had no overall picture of the whole organisation, its values, management style or product range.

What we did

Benefits for participants

Benefits for HR

Benefits for management

Work in our technological, digital and global world is changing. There are new concepts of space, new organisational structures, new management methods, new models of cooperation and much more. When it comes to all of these changes, the umbrella term is New Work.

But it’s not just about new ways of working. At its core, it’s about the work itself and making sure that people experience it as meaningful and fulfilling. It’s about the „purpose“ being right.

The Austrian-American philosopher Frithjof Bergmann is considered to be the founder of the New Work movement. He noticed that more and more people were losing a sense of meaningfulness and passion in their work. He began asking questions about the “real want” in work – a question that is more relevant today than ever.

What we want and need today are meaningful corporate cultures that focus on people. This is future-proof and, as a result, adds value. It’s about taking small steps to encourage a change in thinking and making work people friendly and life friendly.

New Work has five aspects:

People focus means that work is designed to be people friendly. Flexible thinking and creativity are encouraged, routine activities are constantly and critically examined. Learning and development are considered important and knowledge is actively shared. Communication is transparent and people’s health is handled with care.

New Work leadership and collaboration mean that we work together towards our visions. Commitment, personal responsibility and self-organization are actively encouraged and supported. The corporate structures are changeable and do not solidify. Diversity, big picture thinking and related actions are all welcome. Together we actively work on a corporate culture in which performance and people are not a contradiction in terms.

Agile organisation describes structures that can be flexibly adapted to rapidly changing situations. This applies to the organisational structure as well as to its processes. Opportunities and risks are regularly checked and personal actions are aligned in small steps and the experiences of all employees can flow directly into practice.

New Space: Activity based working means keeping room concepts so flexible that they can be changed again and again for new forms of collaboration. This also includes mobile working so that the various places of work can be flexibly integrated.

Social responsibility means that the company’s economic profit is supplemented by ecological and social considerations. It’s about resource conservation, short transport routes, sustainable use of materials and work spaces. And it is about the contribution of the organisation to a more humane society.


New Work is not about just introducing “nice” stuff, although there is nothing to be said against that. Table football, free fruit and drinks may be nice in and of themselves, but this is not what it is about. New Work is only established when the people find the work itself is fun. When it creates and reinforces passion in and at work.


We don’t need to start New Work with a “big bang”. Even small changes and experiments can start the move towards modern and meaningful work.

The important things here are:


Sometimes New Work is used as an excuse to reduce costs. As soon as employees recognise that and see the real intention, they refuse to cooperate. At that moment, New Work is dead in the water. Many people are not used to self-organisation and an abrupt switch can lead to chaos. Early training helps here.

New Work can only be successful if people’s mental and physical health is consistently supported. If this is not the case, the blurring of work and private life can lead to the exploitation of staff goodwill or self-induced burnout. This is particularly risky with young talents who are very enthusiastic and have a lot of energy.


Frithjof Bergmann: New work, new culture, 2017

Simon Sinek: Start with WHY. How great leaders inspire everyone to take action, 2014

Traditionally, Quality Management has been about deciding which ISO registrations an organisation needs and then putting in place the processes, metrics, continuous improvement tools and the documentation necessary to get them – all done by the Quality Department. However, with the dominance of internet-based business, the customer-led quality revolution is getting stronger and stronger.

The decision about which product to buy, from which company is driven by what other customers are saying on the many rating websites and social media rather than what companies are saying about themselves and their products. Customers are more powerful than they have ever been and that power is continuing to grow.

So how should organisations respond? The most logical answer is to return to the original 3 aspects underpinning the quality movement of the 60s and 70s:

The first aspect is no problem nowadays. It is the second and third, (the human aspects) that are missing in today’s world. The voice of the customer is not being integrated into the fabric of organisations, there is no visible management commitment to providing customers with products and services that they truly value and so the people that work there do not recognise that each of them, personally, has an effect on the organisation’s success.

Long-term success depends more and more on understanding how customers perceive the quality of what they are sold as well as their experience of the organisation generally, and then delivering it. Their needs have to be prioritised and tied into quality systems.

Leaders of any type of organisation need to personally:

To lead the change to customer-led quality, leaders need to re-adjust the focus of their Quality Management system to fall equally on the people, the environment and the nuts and bolts of producing what they sell.



Ian Purdy & Sheila Purdy, Why Should I Give A ***** About Quality? Understanding and profiting from the customer-led quality revolution, 2015

All of us have been dealing with these questions intensely since the COVID-19 pandemic. New work means that meaningful, creative and agile work is becoming more and more important. The attractiveness of the workplace is increasingly important, especially among young people.

WHY do we need to deal with this topic?

WHAT do companies have to do to remain competitive and to provide a modern workplace with attractive working conditions? In addition to home offices, co-working spaces and mobile offices, employees will re-discover the office, especially as a place of identification and a social meeting place.

From our point of view, the organization must ensure that their offices fulfill six distinctive functions in the future:

  1. Collaborating with each other on difficult issues
  2. Being creative, finding ideas together
  3. Networking: meeting others in person
  4. Feeling good: enjoying the atmosphere
  5. Identification with the company: experiencing the company spirit
  6. Focused work, alone: time for concentration

Not every team needs all of these functions always, but overall the companies need to make sure they can all be covered. 

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