The Case for Age Diversity: How to Blend Experience with Youth to Benefit an Organization This resistance to mingling has to be broken through active promotion of inter-generational teams

By Kewal Kapoor

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The 2015 Hollywood comedy "the Intern' interestingly captured the story of a retired top executive seeking an internship program at a new wave startup. His gradual assimilation into a predominantly young technology-based organization that benefits tremendously from his rich experience captured the movie's tagline "Experience never gets old'.

While age lends much-needed pragmatism and experience to an organization, youth helps introduce newer and experimental ideas and zeal for risk-taking. Each generation brings to the table their unique qualities and skills. A fine balance of these scales can reap immense benefits for an organization.

Creating an Equitable Workplace

There are myths and perceptions associated with people of different ages. Older workers are often perceived to be technologically inept, resistant to change, less innovative and adaptable. However, they have much more experience, not just of a particular field but also of life in general. This makes them a much-needed pillar of support for any organization that is looking to create a stable and sustainable future for itself. On the other hand, millennials are often perceived to be entitled and reckless. However, they are much more adaptable and open to change and innovation that makes the workforce resilient and ever-evolving.

Creating an equitable workforce implies achieving a fine blend of these two dimensions. A blend of employees of different ages also serves to further our diversity and inclusion agenda that has significant benefits for the organization's growth.

Promote Multi-generational Teams

Employees have a tendency to bunch up in their own age groups. This resistance to mingling has to be broken through active promotion of intergenerational teams. Instituting multi-generational teams and promoting mentorship roles for older employees is a brilliant way to help employees from different age groups learn from each other and achieve positive business growth. When younger employees get adequate exposure to working with older colleagues, they also get to learn important skills and tricks of the trade that only experience can teach. Such teams will foster innovation, creativity while adopting time tested effective organizational skills, and tactics.

Create a Flexible Workspace

If you have a multi-generational team in place, you must acknowledge that the demands and requirements of this diverse workforce will vary. Institute a more open and flexible approach to timing and work, allow more remote and work from home options, more part-time associations to allow everyone to fit in. Offering creative solutions to suit the different needs of people will help the organization reap the benefits of diversity through a healthy mix of experience and youth.

Foster Diversity

Working with people who are different from you exposes you to different horizons, stimulates your brain and sharpens its performance. Non-homogenous teams are more likely to offer diverse solutions to problems and encourage greater cross-questioning. An organization that promotes diversity and inclusion allows easy assimilation of varied elements. Be it gender diversity, physical diversity or age diversity, an organization that truly respects and fosters inclusion reaps immense benefits from having multiple types of brains working towards a common objective.

Kewal Kapoor

Director & Creative Strategist, CHAI Creative and Return of Million Smiles

With a successful and multi faceted career as a writer, journalist, producer and director behind him, Mr. Kewal Kapoor had just the appropriate cross-industry experience to make him an exceptional consultant and creative strategist. This versatility of experience led him to conceive CHAI Kreative & Advertising agency, a unique service provider that helps startups and new businesses lock in the right strategies and solutions to grow and flourish.

Parallel to this endeavor is his pursuit of actively fighting age discrimination and creating an amenable environment for the elderly by promoting their participation in social enterprise, communication and entrepreneurship. From this pursuit emerges his second major enterprise – the Return of the Million Smiles.

An avid reader and passionate writer who is proficient in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English, Mr. Kewal Kapoor has conceptualized and created groundbreaking TV documentaries and shows including the first ever series on Tax Laws in India, the first Human Rights based show on Indian television and a programme on the Kargil martyrs. He served as the Executive Producer with a top notch Production house in Mumbai and has been a consulting partner with some of the top advertising agencies in India.

Since 2012, his focus has intensified towards work that creates genuine value in people’s lives. In 2017, he started CHAI Kreative and Advertising Private Limited which has crossed a turnover of Rs. 3.5 crore in a short span of time.

One of Kewal Kapoor's missions in life has been to create a life of health and dignity for the elderly.  With The Return of Million Smiles project, his objective of promoting dignified ageing has become a reality.

Employing technical solutions to create emotional wellbeing for the aged and making them an important part of the community living space is the vision. An impressive deal has already been frozen for which his company wishes to infuse capital in the coming financial year, with the positive goal of reaching some major markets abroad.

Mr Kapoor is also on the Advisory Board of The Poddar Foundation and has played a key role in launching the Mental Health brand "Silence Todo". 

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