How to manage multigenerational teams

Dawn Moore, Group People Director at Murphy Group, talks about why multigenerational teams are better for business and how to ensure that attitude is embedded throughout an organisation.

Construction worker wearing a hard hat smiling


Read about National Older Workers Week

The benefits of effective multigenerational teams are huge in terms of learning and employee motivation, a leading HR director has told ahead of a panel on best practice.

Next week, as part of the inaugural National Older Workers Week, is holding a panel discussion on Managing Multigenerational Teams in which employers will share the challenges they have faced and how these have been overcome, whether that is combating ageism – both against young and old – in their processes and policies or promoting lifelong learning. 

Dawn Moore, Group People Director at engineering and construction firm Murphy Group, will be speaking on the panel. The firm has been heavily involved in the Kickstart Scheme to help younger workers get back into work after the pandemic and Moore says all the young recruits hired via the scheme have been buddied up with older, experienced workers.

The feedback from both older and younger workers has been very positive. “Everyone says they have learned so much from it,” says Moore, who believes firmly in the value of employees being exposed to the ideas and experiences of people from a different generation from their own. “It has opened older workers’ eyes to new thinking and it has prepared young people for the kind of training they may need later in their career,” says Moore.

A multigenerational culture

Murphy Group is a family business and Moore says there are a number of family members who work at the group. “That gives it a nice multigenerational feel and culture,” she adds.

The Kickstart reverse mentoring scheme provided a formal framework for promoting multigenerational teams. Moore says it is important that there is the right balance between using both formal and informal ways to encourage age inclusive teams.

At Murphy a multigenerational focus is consciously encouraged when it comes to team selection. This is important for succession planning and for creating more resilient organisations, particularly in the midst of the current skills shortage in many sectors. “There is an undercurrent about the benefits of multigenerational teams in our workplace,” says Moore. That means being open to different approaches. For instance, Murphy Group has this month removed stipulations about ‘x years of experience’ from its job adverts. “It does us a disservice,” she says. “If we say 10+ years of experience we will only get someone from a particular generation.”

Thinking in a multigenerational way

Moore also talks about the importance of recognising the different challenges people face across their working lives, about why inclusivity matters and why it is important to ensure there is no one size fits all approach taken. “We have talked about employee experience for years and years. That runs across the whole career experience. Certain benefits are far more important to certain generations. Employers have to think in a multigenerational way,” she states.

She cites as an example the occasional comment that managers in all sectors make that younger workers don’t want to work hard because they are more reluctant to work weekends and nights than older workers who might be looking for overtime. She says that doesn’t mean younger workers are not prepared to work hard on weekdays. “It’s about flipping their thinking,” she says.

Murphy Group offers ongoing coaching to managers to make the point that a one size fits all approach is not effective and that there is no one standard employee experience. Moore states: “If employers have a core baseline offering with some flexibility they will be better able to attract a multigenerational workforce and benefit from it.”

*Dawn Moore will be speaking at’s Managing multigenerational teams event at the inaugural National Older Workers Week, which runs from 22nd November. The week will include a series of online events for employers and candidates with leading experts and employers. In addition to the multigenerational teams event on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion on the results of our survey of older workers’ experience of Covid and their attitudes towards their working lives, a best practice event on everything from eliminating age bias in the recruitment process to returner programmes and lifelong learning and a candidate-focused discussion about finding a job you love. Find out more and register for the free events here.

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