It’s no secret that the workplace is changing, and fast. Generation Zed is entering the workforce and some Millennials are pushing 40. Gen X’ers are in their fifties, and Baby Boomers aren’t retiring as early as they used to. You would think that a multigenerational agency would just be the norm, right?
Unfortunately, age discrimination at work is very real. This is especially true in our world of marketing, social media, and other creative advertising agencies. Stories abound of people being “let go” in their 40s or considered ancient after 50! In fact, it’s rare these days for people to reach retirement age – most are put out to pasture long before!
Why You Should Choose a Multigenerational Agency
I for one have a problem with this, and not just because Spodek & Co. happens to be a multi-generational agency. I have a problem with this because companies – and their clients – are missing out on a wealth of experience by going down this road.
And yes, as a business owner I understand the desire, from a purely fiscal point of view, of taking this route. Younger workers are cheaper. And in many cases, clients equate “youth” with “more on trend.” But young employees and fresh graduates have less experience, both in the workplace and in life. And what you save in salaries by hiring for youth rather than experience you’ll lose in output and potential client satisfaction, especially in times of brand crisis.
A Multigenerational Agency – the Perfect Compromise
Hiring a multigenerational agency might be the best business decision you make all year.
Take us for example. The team here at Spodek & Co. covers thirty-plus years of work experience. From our 20-something Millennial members who have grown up in the digital space to a few with 50 plus years under their belts with long, successful careers and both feet firmly planted on either side of technology! And that’s the benefit of working with a multigenerational agency – literally the best of all worlds.
If We Were all the Same the World Would be a Boring Place
The most agile agencies consist of employees who have paved the way for the next generation. They have awards and accolades under their belts, along with years of training and self-improvement in order to “keep up.” And they have worked with so many clients over the years there’s hardly an industry they haven’t touched. Also, their lists of contacts and connections is a mile long.
These agencies also have a smattering of older Millennials, who have advanced to mid-level positions and have done “the grind” work. Maybe they’re having kids themselves now, opening them up to new people, products, and lifestyles. Their networks are growing and evolving. And they have an interesting view of the world that inspires their creativity in new and exciting ways.
And they have the young up-and-comers! A few years out of school (or fresh grads), ready to take on their work assignments with an excitement that is palpable. They have grown up with Instagram and Snapchat and are themselves heavily influenced by influencers. And what they lack in experience they make up for with drive. But they (and any clients they work with!) benefit from having seasoned professionals at various stages of their creative careers nearby to help keep them grounded, learn from and be mentored by.
It Shouldn’t JUST be About the Bottom Line
Clients and corporations would be wise to step back and take a hard look at the agencies they consider for campaigns. I love the old British saying “penny wise, pound foolish.” And I try and keep it in mind when making decisions about my own company and its future.
That shiny new “pop-up” agency staffed with energetic young people (who don’t draw the salaries more experienced people do) might look good from a budget perspective.
But take a step back. Spend a bit of time and consideration sourcing a more balanced, multigenerational agency. Do your research as to what they bring to the table, the layers of experience at your fingertips. And how uniquely they can interpret and adapt to your needs, or respond in times of crisis. That unique mixture will save you money in the long run.
I didn’t set out to build a multigenerational agency. It just sort of… happened… as I hired the best people I could for certain positions. But I’ve seen how well we all work together as a team. And how much our clients benefit from this melting pot of experience. And I truly believe hiring a multigenerational agency (or building your own multigenerational teams) is the best choice for business success.
I would love your thoughts! Have you experienced ageism yourself? Have you built multigenerational teams? Please leave your comments below!