How To Maximize The Success Of Your Intergenerational Work Team

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By Wayne Elsey, originally published on

"At a recent executive team meeting, the conversation turned to our salad bar. We brought in the salad bar as another value-add for our group, in addition to our nine-foot putting green, basketball machine and desk-sized versions of games like 4 in a Row and Checkers. The intent of our executive team in bringing these games to our offices is twofold: 1) It allows our team members to blow off some steam, and 2) it helps foster an enjoyable work environment where people can interact in ways other than for work — which helps people get to know a little more about each other.

Something interesting happened in the course of the conversation. A few of the older workers were a little dismissive of the games, and a team member muttered about professionalism at work versus "play time."

That conversation brought me to the realization that integrating people from different generations is not easy. On my team, there are people in their 50s who work closely with people in their 20s, and it occurred to me that it's important to understand each of the generations on the team to then figure out how to create a culture that works for everyone."

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The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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