The Surprising Impact of Age Ranges in the Workplace


Workplace Diversity, #1: The Multigenerational Workplace


What are some of the factors that influence office culture, and how do we perpetuate culture in the age of workplace flexibility?

Walk into any office and you’re bound to find that, in some, people are generally excited to be there and want to boost performance on their own. Then, there are others that feel draining and are uncomfortable to be in.

Morale is incumbent upon many factors, but nearly all of them boil down to what makes alternative workplaces potentially more appealing than many conventional office environments:

Diversity.

A range in age groups, a mix of new and familiar faces, and a variety of workspaces within the workplace are all ways a workplace can feel more diverse and thus energetic. In this three-part series on workplace diversity, we’ll focus on some ways that diversity can promote a more motivational and inspirational workplace. Today’s focus is on a multigenerational staff.

The most successful staff I’ve had the pleasure to work with was one in which roughly half of the people were seasoned experts in the industry (say, 45+) and the other half (30 and under) were more formative and eager to learn. While most offices are not evenly split, those that have a significant mix—where one age group doesn’t overpower the other—show greater potential for employee satisfaction on both ends of the age spectrum.

In my experience, the more senior staff served as mentors for their younger counterparts, even without an imposed assistant-to-executive hierarchy. In fact, many higher-ups counseled entry-level employees that weren’t even within their own departments.

In turn, as the younger group grew into their roles, they felt a certain level of commitment to the team and the brand as a whole, simply because they were given the opportunity to learn a multitude of tasks. Ninety percent of the younger-aged staff went on to grow with the company, including some who left and came back several years later. This allows managers to integrate new skill sets into their own rooted business practices, and employees could learn from one another while also keeping each other (and the company) competitive.

As workplace flexibility allows for more variety in location and networking, we have the opportunity for both planned and chance encounters with a wider range of people. In addition, we want to ensure that corporate culture – and especially the multigenerational relationships that encourage professional growth and expansion – is allowed to flourish across virtual communication and collaboration channels.