Another generation of professionals is moving into the workplace, and the New York Times is even asking its readership what they should be called. With boomers, gen Xers, millenials, and even a few silent generation pros in the mix, building a strong team culture and effective communication style can be challenging. Yet some multigenerational remote teams haven’t just found their rhythm—they’re actually succeeding because of it.
Here’s what these multigenerational remote teams have figured out:
1. Age is truly irrelevant.
When Google hires teenage tech prodigies for millions of dollars, they’re aiming to add a very specific kind of talent to their team—without requiring traditional credentials. Similarly, when companies like Berkshire Hathaway continue to thrive under the strategic leadership of octogenarians, one thing is clear: obsolescence based on age alone should be a thing of the past. Talent and experience are far clearer indicators of both existing and potential success.
2. New skills can be learned (and taught) by anyone.
Remember when social media was relegated to being an intern’s role? Those were the days. Now many of the skills taken for granted as peripheral a decade ago are central to companies’ growth and market domination. When you have staff members who can train one another on the latest tech tools, smart business models, engaging speaking skills, and the most effective sales strategies, you’ll have an exponentially stronger organization all around.
3. Experience saves you time and money.
When you were just starting out in your career, how often did you make the kind of forehead-smacking mistakes that wound up costing hours of work or hundreds to (gulp) even thousands of dollars in lost revenue? It’s happened to most of us. If we were lucky, a more senior teammate or mentor pulled us aside to help or offer advice before we got in too deep. Once you’ve seen the potholes, your ability to help steer clear of them can be invaluable.
4. Fresh perspectives encourage innovation.
At the same time, a group of seasoned executives who rely on best practices alone aren’t in danger of reinventing any industry—and going stale can be worse than taking calculated risks. Adding bold insights from early stage professionals who could very well have a different way of looking at your processes, products, and services could be the injection of creativity you’ve been seeking.
5. Many walks of life = broader customer relations.
Gaining market share doesn’t happen overnight, and neither do strong relationships with key audiences. If you have a team that represents a variety of segments, you have an internal competitive advantage. They’ll be able to better understand, effectively reach out, and closely relate to the people whose lives you’re hoping to impact. That alone is a powerful enough argument for a multigenerational team, don’t you think?
As more professionals are delaying retirement, multigenerational remote teams will continue to grow. If your remote team reminisces about the work world of the 60s and 70s but is also ushering in new talent, I salute you! If not, maybe the points above have changed your mind about how critical an asset a team of diverse age groups can be.
(Written in memory of my hardworking, good-humored parents, who hailed from the baby boomer and silent generation, respectively: Richard DePaul, a software engineer, 1952-2010, and Judy DePaul, a registered nurse and RN supervisor, 1945-2018.)
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