Younger co-workers don't have a clue how things are done, while older ones can't deal with innovation: Such stereotypes are common, especially when colleagues of different ages work as a team.
However, teams with members of various ages are overall better because each person brings different strengths and weaknesses.
It's important to structure a team in a way that ensures the various age groups can work together, providing mutual support and exchanging knowledge and expertise, says a German institute on workplace health.
The experts have a couple of tips for how to strengthen collaboration within a team that managers can try out:
Enabling job shadowing: If you let colleagues shadow one another at work, that will help stimulate their excitement about new things and promote flexibility and commitment.
Set up job rotations: If, say, older employees can pursue activities that are more in line with their changing skills and needs, that will help the company retain important knowledge and experience.
Offer additional training opportunities to older employees: Providing new input regularly will help relieve a sense of monotony at work.
Challenge stereotypes: If a team focuses on the strengths of its older members, this will lead to appreciation and improve cooperation. For example, younger team members may often work faster, but more experienced colleagues often know shortcuts that help lead to the goal they are working towards. – dpa
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