Forbes Insights recently conducted a survey of more than 300 senior executives to gain a better understanding of the role that diversity and inclusion play in business.
The report found that senior executives are now recognising that innovation is dependent on having a team with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. “When asked about the relationship between diversity and innovation, the majority of respondents agreed that diversity is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and
ideas that foster innovation,” the report states.
One way in which firms can achieve this desirable diversity is to ensure that they employ people from a range of ages.
Pairing young with old helps both team development and the fostering of creativity, says Paula Tinkler, commercial director at Chemoxy International. The bespoke chemical manufacturing company doesn’t shy away from employing people at both ends of the age scale; employees are between 17 and 70 years old.
“Innovation and creativity are incubated wherever you have the right combination of experience, enthusiasm and curiosity, and an intergenerational team is the perfect way to foster the perfect mix,” says Mrs Tinkler.
In the laboratory, senior research and development scientists with decades of experience teach and collaborate with undergraduates who bring a fresh perspective. This intergenerational approach is continued throughout the plant – for example, in operations and quality control.
Chemoxy has apprentices working alongside the most experienced staff. “This intergenerational approach to hiring has been an incredibly effective catalyst for innovation and, in my opinion, it’s the driving force behind our most creative work,” Ms Tinkler says.