Five generations – one big team

Deutsche Wohnen is always changing. There are new estates, new businesses and new employees. In 2018 alone, another 275 new colleagues started working at Deutsche Wohnen. Five different generations now work together at the Group’s offices. Each generation has its own particular ex­­­pectations of the work and the workplace.

Stephanie Krumnow
Director Human Resources and Organisational Development at Deutsche Wohnen.

“Knowledge and experience has to flow – across locations, departments and generations.”

When people collaborate in a big company, which in some ways can be compared with an engine, with all its different components and moving parts, then an awareness of what other people do is the oil that makes the processes run smoothly.

Surprise! The Mystery Meetings

The new event series called Mystery Meeting was introduced and carried out three times in 2018. “In a Mystery Meeting, anyone can apply for meeting a colleague that they know nothing about. They arrange a time and a place, have a coffee, and chat about their work”, explains Stephanie Krumnow. She is Director Human Resources and Organisational Development and is a fan of these meetings, “because they foster a greater awareness of the work that is done here in our company. They also create new networks, which makes the work easier.” She is very pleased with the numbers of participants. During the last round alone, more than 70 employees at the two main Berlin offices registered for a Mystery Meeting.

Training in inter-generational understanding

Communication between generations has never gone completely smoothly. “People born in the
sixties and seventies had parents who were very different to later generations of parents. And
so their children, who are now completing their apprenticeship with us, differ in some cases significantly from the apprentices of the previous generation”, says Stephanie Krumnow. In the reporting year the staff responsible for the apprentices therefore had successful psychological training to ensure greater understanding between generations. “In this context it is important to address individual needs”, says Stephanie Krumnow, “because outstanding apprentices are harder to find nowadays.”

More space for communicating and for agile thinking and working: open-plan offices were installed on the first floor of our headquarter, in 2018.

From vocational training through to departure

Everyone who works at Deutsche Wohnen is part of a company that is different from others in many ways. The difference stems from the quality of the architecture, its sustainable way of doing business and its new ventures, for example. New colleagues are also welcomed differently in the course of the onboarding process. And the exit process is also handled differently, when people leave the Group to take on another workplace. “In our farewell meetings we ask about the reasons, because that is the only way we can learn how to keep getting better”, explains Stephanie Krumnow.

It’s all about the mindset

For a successful working relationship it doesn’t actually matter if someone is 25 or 50 years old. According to Stephanie Krumnow, what counts is the point of view and the attitude, in other words, the right mindset. For the staff, cultivating the right mentality means not thinking in terms of square metres of living space, or strict demarcation lines between departments, but rather focusing on customers and colleagues as individuals.