Ageless beauty: How to manage multi-generational teams

Written by Jamie Oliver Wednesday 08 May 2024
If older workers bring the wisdom of experience, their younger peers can inject energy and fresh ideas. Here’s how to ensure those cohorts connect…
Colleagues conversing

Back in the 1990s, Baroness Greengross and a futurologist visited the B&Q board to show them how the UK’s demographics would look in 2020. In a word: older. According to Kay Allen OBE, then B&Q’s director of ethics, that convinced the team it was “mission-critical to employ older people”. 

B&Q soon launched a concept store in Macclesfield that only took on people over 50.

“We had no staff theft, zero!” says Kay, still struck by the results of the experiment. “No staff turnover, no sickness and customer service through the roof. We rolled it out as a national strategy.”

Try buddy-ing up

Kay, 60, is now campaign director of Age Irrelevance (when not running a pig farm in Herefordshire). She points out that employing an older workforce did come with challenges that needed managing. 

“Grandparents wanted and needed time off for child care, especially around holiday times, when B&Q was busy,” she says. “So we made a social contract with our older employees. We said go find yourself a young person who is studying, buddy them and get them floor-ready, and then you can job share. It will reduce your hours, but the student gets paid.”

Booked your spot?

Managing multi-generational teams is just one subject being discussed at the CMI Women Conference 2024 – which has the theme of inclusive growth in the next decade.

Book your ticket now

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