Building a Multigenerational Team in Tech: We have more in common than you think!

The composition of a tech team in today’s industry is more diverse than ever, not only in terms of backgrounds or ethnicities but across generations. For the first time in history, five different generations are working together. While having this multigenerational team comes with great opportunities it also has its unique challenges. Bringing together a mix of generational perspectives can look different in every company. Learning how to foster that mix in a cohesive environment is crucial to be able to reap its advantages.

How to Build a Successful Multigenerational Team

Most of us have experienced a communication barrier with our boss, coworker, or employee. But it may not even be due to your typical misunderstanding, but one based on work experience and life stage. Whether it’s miscommunication through text messages because someone prefers phone calls or varying meeting-style expectations, conflicting work styles can occur due to a different professional upbringing. It may seem challenging, but following some foundational steps to reach a mutual understanding is important:

  • Debunking Generational Stereotypes

A first step to making this happen is by taking all those stereotypes you attach to various generations and replacing with an understanding that we each have unique personality traits and values. Each generational group is not conformed or only a direct result of the economic conditions the world was in or the experiences at the beginning of their careers. These generalizations are problematic to assume because they are inhibitors of creating a successful multigenerational team. Instead, they implement a lack of respect between generations in the workplace.

To avoid this, Harvard Business Review highlights there is value in educating ourselves on the realities different generations have faced throughout their careers. Understanding why someone might act or in this case, work the way they do, helps you better communicate with each other.

  • Respect Boundaries

As we all know communication has many facets, and it’s not enough to just understand why someone might be the way they are. It’s also about listening to how they are and respecting that way of being. There might be some topics you don’t agree on or don’t find relevant. For instance, Gen Z is known to be more open to talking about mental health while someone from Generation X may not be prone to sharing personal details. Respecting differences and being aware of certain feelings towards specific topics is a simple must in today’s societal workforce.

  • Encourage Collaboration

The best way to put these two elements together to create a great multigenerational team is by working together, not apart. Keeping generations separate in the workplace, doesn’t allow for fostering a progressive environment. According to LinkedIn, when different generations work together it increases creativity and most importantly not only passes down knowledge but also brings it back up. It’s not just about older generations sharing their wisdom anymore, it’s also about younger ones contributing fresh takes and expertise.

Managing Different Priorities and Work Styles in Multigenerational Workforces

Although building a multigenerational team is advantageous, it’s only effective if priorities are met and work styles are matched. Each generation will come with varying needs depending on what they have experienced professionally in their times. It’s important to get a sense of what the group of individuals that belong to each generation in your company value the most. Whether it’s hybrid work or career progression, clear communication about these priorities should be heard.

For instance, even the physical design of a workspace should be considered so that multi-generations feel included in the process based on preferences. Desk sizes, office set-ups, having collaborative spaces in addition to individual space to work, and especially technology that each group can feel productive with are key to creating a cohesive environment. And if unsure of the best solution—ask. Surveys are a great way to gain feedback from the team to bring them together.

Performance goals are another area to target according to generational expectations. While there are certain universal company and business goals that need to be met across the board, making an effort to individualize plans based on workstyles and how different generations want to recognized when they meet their goals is important. We can recognize and appreciate that there are different routes to get from point A to point B for each person based on their personal habits and also work habits, but reaching the target should be the primary goal.  As generations are working at different life stages, what they value can vary greatly. If the reward for one person is more PTO versus a more lucrative retirement plan, it’s important to consider options.


At Matlen Silver, building relationships with a diverse set of tech specialists is critical to delivering the best workforce solutions to our clients. We identify remarkable IT talent that spans generations and work closely with them to find optimal work opportunities that not only makes them successful but the organizations they work for successful, too. Contact us today for details.

 

 

 

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