Why Multi-Generational Teams Are Best

Last Updated Jun 20, 2011 11:38 AM EDT

With seniors now often living apart from their extended families, many young people have very little interaction with people outside of their own age group. Until they get to work, of course, where new entrants to the workforce brush shoulders with many generations in close quarters.

Conflicts naturally arise with young people being labeled lazy or self-involved, and baby faced-staff complaining about the stodgy ways of senior team members. But despite the usual sniping and complaining, multi-generational teams are actually best, according to a recent post on blog CAREEREALISM.

On top of external concerns like avoiding age discrimination cases and having a broad range of employees to provide insights on a broad range of customers, the post offers ideas on why multi-generational teams function better and produce better results, including:
Every generation has its blind spots. By having a multi-generational workforce these blind spots can be avoided to a large degree. A clear example is the issue of technology. The young bulls (of whichever gender) want to have technology, technology, and more technology. The older bulls (of either gender) can put a quash on making the company technology based for technology's sake. This vital tension means that essential technology will be implemented, but non-essential technology will not--at least ideally.

It allows each generation to safely shine.... younger workers are more likely to take risks that can benefit the company if there is a "safety net" of older workers to catch them if they fall. Conversely, older workers can rapidly fall behind the times and be beat by competitors if they don't keep up. A multi-generational workforce lets each generation do what they do best, without a fear that something will be missed. This leads to greater creativity and a better flow of ideas within the company.
With the blogosphere full of rants on how various generations are unequivocally better or worse, the CAREEREALISM post is a nice reminder that debates about the merits or various generations aside, a balanced team that includes the strengths and weaknesses of all age groups is probably best. Do you agree?

Read More on BNET: (Image courtesy of Flickr user Yoni Lerner, CC 2.0)
  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.