How multi-generational teams spur PR innovation

Your agency hopes to target a wide range of demographics. It should have an equally well-mixed group of thinkers developing its campaigns and services.

The modern workplace is evolving.

Baby boomers, whose predecessors would have begun looking towards retirement, are staying in the workforce longer, rejoining it or switching career paths late in life. Meanwhile, members of Generation Z are in the early stages of their professional career.

It is vital for PR agencies to understand this shift in workplace dynamic. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a worker in the “advertising, public relations and related services” field was 39.2 in 2017. Additionally, 72 percent of workers were between the ages of 25 to 54.

There is a real advantage to establishing a workforce with talent stemming from various generations, and agencies should take the following steps to attract and retain team members from all walks of life.

Create a welcoming workplace

Before an agency can successfully attract and build a workforce inclusive of different generations, it is important to establish a company culture that caters to a diverse team. The agency’s management team must take time to understand how different generations operate and recognize the best way to manage those team members.

A recent Korn Ferry survey discovered that 55 percent of millennial bosses prefer to communicate with their employees via online messaging. In contrast, baby boomers prefer in-person meetings. In a survey done by Microsoft, nearly 85 percent of baby boomer respondents listed in-person meetings as the most favorable communication method.

Mentorship programs are a great way to celebrate generational diversity in a workplace. Pairing off team members that come from different generations will help individuals understand and appreciate the fresh perspectives brought from their coworkers.

Update hiring practices

Once an agency firmly establishes that diversity is a key pillar in its culture, potential candidates of all ages and backgrounds will be drawn to a firm with a reputation for inclusion and diversity.

If you’ve already established a fairly diverse team, the more employees who can speak with a potential hire, the better. Each person will bring a different perspective to the interview, and will draw out different qualities from the candidate. Incorporating your team in the interview process also helps ensure the new hire will be a better fit for the agency’s culture.

Additionally, offering employee benefits that speak to different generations will attract talent of all ages. Perks like wellness hours and half-day Friday are especially enticing to millennials. Benefits like a simple IRA and matched contributions are appealing to baby boomers and Generation X, who are closer to retirement.

How to use your team

After taking the necessary steps to build a diverse team, an agency can capitalize on all the strengths that come from a team with different backgrounds and skillsets. A good mix of team members means a variety of ideas are brought to the table. When looking to plan big ideas for clients, initiatives like agency-wide brainstorms are sure to produce better-informed, more creative results.

A diverse team also makes the jump into new industries much easier for an agency. Imagine you are consulting with a potential new client with a platform that helps users save for retirement. If the agency has a team member from the baby boomer generation, who is much closer to retirement than a millennial, understanding the value of the client’s product becomes much easier to comprehend.

On the other hand, millennials and Generation Z are traditionally early adopters of new technologies and aware of the latest cultural internet trends. They can offer a fresh perspective on how to speak to the consumers in their generations.

Agency professionals work with clients that come from a variety of generations and professional backgrounds. If an agency wants to serve diverse clients, it is a best practice to strive for a similarly diverse team.

Catriona Harris is the CEO of Uproar PR.

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