Teamwork Across Generations: How to Navigate the Dynamics of Resourcing for Different Generations


11th October 2023

Read Time

5 mins

At Connectr we work with both younger and more experienced hires in hidden talent pools. The alchemy of multigenerational teams is great for business. When you combine the wisdom and knowledge of a 50+ year old with a young member of a team, you can see a powerful combination where both individuals can learn from each other and mentor one another. An older employee has seen it all before, can keep stress levels lower and lead the team into success.  

A retail client approached us last week because one of their departments didn’t have a spread of ages in their team, the team was too young and they needed older workers to showcase exemplary behaviour, nurture and develop the less experienced team members and also reflect the demographics and lived experience of their customers.  

At Connectr we’ve been working with young and emerging talent for many years, it’s more recently, although it was 6 years ago that we started to do work with the over 50s.  

There are some striking similarities with the resourcing process and the fact that the usual resourcing process with its algorithms and ATS just doesn’t work for individuals at the beginning or past the middle of their careers. You need to have a more nurturing and supportive framework to secure la crème de la crème of the candidate market 

On the plus side with younger applicants you can up the tech when it comes to application processes because they’ve grown up with technology and it’s part of how they operate. You can use gaming technology and make applying for roles online easier, but just like with their more experienced counterparts, in essence, anything online becomes about ticking boxes and categories and you won’t find that exclusive yet elusive talent using online applications only. If you want to provide an engaging candidate experience and recruit diverse talent, i.e. those with the potential who haven’t had the same parental or school support as others, you might find they are either put off by this type of application process or are ejected from the process very quickly. In our experience a high touch and human process builds both confidence and an understanding of how to navigate the application and assessment process. 

We are partnered with Allen & Overy, delivering their ReStart Programme and the Phoenix Group delivering their Your New Future Programme; both of which are designed to upskill and nurture the over 50’s group looking to return to the workplace.  As with people at the beginning of their career, we have come to understand that a high touch process is essential. The over 50s aren’t going to apply for a role immediately, often confidence is at an all-time low and they need a conversation to discuss the company, it’s values and motivations, the role and whether they have the skills, transferrable or otherwise, to succeed.  You get the picture – it’s like good old-fashioned recruitment; human conversations to build a rapport and discuss the individual rather than just the CV they bring. You can read about the Phoenix Group work here.  

Neither group want a corporate spiel, and they want to know about the purpose and mission of an organisation. Both groups want FLEX, flex is at the heart of how they work.  Gen z highly value work-life balance and fiercely look to protect their wellbeing and the over 50s want flex as they often have responsibilities outside of work or want to ensure they have time for self-care, or for their side gig. This week, record numbers of people in their 50s and older are in part-time work, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics, with one quarter of workers in their 50s working part-time. 

In what has been hailed as a paradigm shift in how we view work and retirement, the data reveals that 3.6 million older people are working part-time in the UK: a record high and a 12% increase since 2021. It is also a 26% increase in the past decade and a 56% increase in the past two decades. 

It’s important that each age group understands that often careers are not a linear path but a winding road and a random set of experiments, look back at your career, was it all on purpose, did you know where you’d end up? It’s important for young and experienced individuals to understand that there are jobs for now and jobs of the future. A job isn’t just a job, it can lead to many different career paths. Many people join Phoenix on a temporary contract and are then offered a permanent position and that could be in so many different parts of the business, so once you do join there are often so many opportunities to move into other roles.  

As an employer, it’s important to remember that employees might want different things, understanding each group’s desires and motivations can be a game-changer. Young people might be interest in salary and older employees more interested in benefits.  

Embrace diversity and inclusion to create a vibrant and innovative workplace, age inclusion leads to different perspectives and richer talent pools and innovation.  

So think longer term, older workers are like to be with you longer than younger ones and there’s a 50 or 60 year career now which means someone who has just hit 50 still has 20 years to give.  

The over 50s don’t need a career ladder, they are happy to keep moving sideways or downwards, they’ve been there and done that in terms of the career climb, and they’re ready to play to their strengths and bring their huge value into your business.  

In conclusion, recruiting and connecting with diverse talent, whether young or over 50+ involves understanding their unique values, needs and aspirations. It’s about breaking free from thinking inside the box, embracing flexibility and treating every candidate with respect and empathy. Remember the talent acquisition process is about recognising the human potential in each individual. Connectr has mastered the art (please note it’s not a science) of multigenerational alchemy, helping you to find that extraordinary talent of tomorrow.