“Demographic opportunity, instead of demographic apocalypse”, is how Mercedes-Benz describes the changing nature of the workforce. They see the age broadening of employees as an opportunity with so many advantages. With this in mind, they launched their YES demographics initiative both within the business but also as a marketing exercise. And just in case you didn’t guess, "YES" stands for, “Young and Experienced together successful”! We like that.

Mercedes-Benz want us to stop talking about the ageing population as if it will only make things worse for everyone. Their view is still unfortunately still a rarity with big business still stuck in their outdated views around ageing. The car manufacture believes that with increasing age comes people with valuable experience, which is a real advantage for everyone — within society and within the company.

The goal of the YES initiative is no small feat — Mercedes-Benz want  to create a complete narrative shift around ageing, and counteract the often pessimistic notion of age by focusing on the positive aspects and for each individual’s potential. And we are right behind them

In launching the YES project they focused on three key areas:

1. Get the management on board. Mercedes-Benz made age the central topic of their management seminars and at all levels. The board were on board with the project! And this is key to changing the agenda around age — getting the senior managers to see the opportunity both socially and economically. The seminar was called, “Focusing on people: YES!" and was designed to create a management culture that has a positive attitude towards age. The formula they used in their seminar is very similar to ours at The Age of No Retirement —  1+1=3, older + younger= more than the sum of their parts — and Mercedes Benz talk about "young + experienced = successful together".

"The seminar was called, “Focusing on people: YES!" and was designed to create a management culture that has a positive attitude towards age"

The Mercedes Benz intergeneration programme.

2. Take a real close up look at the makeup of the people who work in the business.The YES team made sure that all company schemes which dealt with demographics — e.g. ergonomics, health management, work-life balance — were made more transparent. They then used this transparency and clarity of data to start to think about new cross age initiatives.

3. Get the outside world thinking differently. As well as looking internally on how to create a new view of age and ageing the YES team also developed an exhibition offering fun and novel ways for the general public to examine their own views on age. The exhibition showed visitors the potential of each age as well as explaining scientific findings, revealing the strengths of each generation, and encouraging visitors to rethink common age stereotypes.

Over the next months we will be watching closely what Mercedes Benz and doing and look forward to sharing the insights from a pioneering business in the age diversity space.

You can read more about the YES exhibition here.

"Mercedes Benz believes that increasing age brings people with valuable experience, which is a real advantage for everyone — within society and within the company."

If you liked the story above, we think you will also like these related stories from our In—Common library.

How I invented a new career

09.12.16 - Work & Employment

Frances Cain is a successful toy designer and business owner. She’s also 51. She (more)

How breaking stereotypes is good for business

13.12.16 - Work & Employment

Tricia Cusden shares with The Age of No Retirement why her frustration with the (more)

Becoming an intern at 52

09.12.16 - Work & Employment

How many companies actually have the imagination to give ‘older’ people new experiences? The (more)

Read more of our In-Common stories here