This Labor Day, Value Intergenerational and Cultural Diversity on your Team

We’ve been in the PR/message calibration business since 1996. Our storytelling has launched a thousand careers, elevated hundreds of brands and made ordinary heroes world-famous.

I have been asked, many times, about GillespieHall’s ‘magic sauce’ – and here’s the recipe: one part agile, digitally-adept twenty-somethings; one part crusty wordsmiths with a sound understanding of digital and print media; one part well-seasoned creative strategists; and one part ageless sociologist. Add to the mix our differences in race, religion, and politics – and we have a ‘magic sauce’ indeed. The most common ingredient? Lack of egos. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork.

GillespieHall has always been intergenerational and culturally diverse for one reason: It works. Yes, we value the technical agility of staff under 40. But without the context delivered by seasoned pros, those over 40,  there is no story to tell. The cultural diversity delivers in ways that are priceless – understanding specific audience sensitivities, acceptable vernacular, taste, interpretation…

So how do we keep everyone feeling valued?  We bring the team together on every project.

The opportunities we create for interaction and engagement produce an environment ideal for constant cross pollination. Each team member gets an appreciation of what their colleagues bring to the table.

These things work well for us at GillespieHall:

  • Welcome Generational and Cultural Diversity – Don’t just tolerate age and cultural differences among your key players – embrace them. Staff members from different generations and cultures not only make different contributions to the business, but they can also teach each other from their experiences.
  • Value Individual Strengths – Lose the stereotypes that come with labeling groups of people. Instead, maximize the potential of each member of your team by understanding and appreciating his or her background, skills and goals.
  • Adapt to Different Communication Styles – Young adults tend to text and tweet. More mature, socially confident pros prefer face-to-face conversations and phone calls. Bringing staff members of different generations together for creative exercises helps break down the barriers that can occur because of different communication styles.
  • Provide Training – It’s not enough to just assemble an intergenerational team and expect it to work flawlessly. Provide awareness training that helps your team learn about their differences, as well as their similarities. Create opportunities for team members to share their strategies and techniques with each other – learn from each other.
  • Be Flexible – Acknowledge and, if possible, accommodate various work styles. That may include offering flexible hours and work-from-home options, plenty of meeting space for one-on-one conversations, wireless connections for personal mobile devices or charging stations for electric vehicles.

Work hard. Live life as though nobody is watching and express yourself as though everyone is listening. – Nelson Mandela

PR professional Bridget Paverd is a founding partner at GillespieHall. The firm is retained by global companies to manage their reputation and relevance. A recognized crisis communication specialist, Paverd’s first foray into PR was at 9, when she rallied fellow students into changing the lunch menu. Paverd has been influencing minds and opinions ever since. Paverd also teaches crisis media management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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