…and a workplace asset
According to a report by the CIPD, the exchange of skills and expertise between generations is the greatest benefit as perceived by HR professionals. This is also important for employees, with 66 per cent of the 3,000 surveyed by the CIPD citing knowledge-sharing in age-diverse teams a key benefit. Employees also answered that gaining access to different perspectives, ideas and problem-solving techniques were significant advantages.
A good example of this in practice is the longstanding efforts from DIY chain B&Q, whose approach to employment is ‘based on a philosophy of attitude, not age’. They chose to actively recruit from all age groups and to operate without a fixed retirement age, and have commented on the wealth of experience this has brought to their teams.
It is clearly positive to see that the benefits of encouraging multigenerational teams to work together do not go unnoticed. However, there remains a question mark over the efforts of many businesses to keep workers of all ages engaged in the work of the organisation. In the same report from the CIPD, a fifth of employers admitted that their organisation does nothing to ensure that employees of all ages develop and keep their skills up to date.
Given the rate at which skills requirements in many businesses are changing, this must surely be a worry. If the age diverse workforce is going to be a true asset, employers must pay attention to the different learning and development needs of all their employees. Supplementing the expertise of employees, with new skills gained through training, serves greatly to enrich the interchange of ideas.