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By Therese Van Ryne | October 10, 2022

This is What It Really Takes to Build a Strong, Collaborative Multigenerational (and Virtual) Team…Based on Personal Experience

I sat down with an HR director and an Inside Sales team lead to find out the best way to connect and communicate with people of all ages. We also debunked a few popular myths about generational behaviors.

Rumor has it that millennial and Gen Z professionals only want to talk via messaging apps or social media. You may have also seen older generations labeled – or treated – as technology laggards or workplace traditionalists. Well, come to find out (from speaking to professionals and my personal experience) that many of the “facts” being shared online about Gen X, Gen Y (millennials), Gen Z and baby boomers are actually fiction – at least at a categorical level.

As my colleagues Shelley Eades and Ahmed Daaboul repeatedly stressed in our latest Your Edge podcast episode, it can be dangerous to make assumptions about what people want based on age alone. People aren’t programmed to communicate a specific way or have the same expectations of an employer just because they were born within a certain timeframe. Each person has their own motivations, communication style, career ambitions and personal priorities. So, if you want to build and maintain a team of talented, motivated people – and have a reputation for being a supportive and inclusive employer – you should heed the advice shared by Shelley and Ahmed in this short roundtable discussion:

Tips and Tricks for Building and Supportnig Multigenerational (Virtual) Teams

We had a very honest discussion about: 

  • the extreme challenges and rewards of building teams from the ground up, especially in a tight labor market like the one we’re in where it is becoming harder than ever to recruit and retain talent.

  • how you can better connect with, develop, and support people from any generations. 

  • the contradictions between current talent recruitment trends/hiring practices and what people actually want companies to do.

  • the danger of generational profiling or segmenting of potential candidates and current employees.

  • the five questions that every company should answer before hiring a single person, much less an entire team of people.

  • the most effective person-to-person communication style you can use to reach and recruit people. (This one might surprise you.)

  • the three things that every generation has in common when it comes to workplace expectations. 

  • why self-reflection can sometimes help us better understand and communicate with others.

  • how to recognize and accommodate people’s communication preferences and why that’s so important on multigenerational teams.

It was a great conversation and, as a team leader myself, I found it very relatable. I think it’s so important to share our experiences with others – and to learn from others’ experiences. We all want to build, and be a part of, strong, effective teams. So, I encourage you to listen to the podcast now or bookmark it for later today when you have a few minutes.  


You may also find helpful tips on how to build and manage multigenerational teams in the blog posts below and on Zebra’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, so please do follow us on those channels. 


About Our Guests:

  • Shelley Eades is the Senior Director of Human Resources at Zebra, and spends her days focused on talent acquisition and retention. She is an avid believer in creating diverse teams and connecting with people the good old-fashioned way: in person or over the phone.  

  • Ahmed Daaboul is the Inside Sales Director for Zebra in the EMEA region and recently found himself in an interesting position when he was charged with building a new Inside Sales Account Management team from the ground up during December 2021, while his wife was very pregnant, making it a very challenging time to take on such an endeavor. If you’re a people manager, especially a new one, you’ll be able to relate to his experience finding, onboarding under time pressure and uplifting his team.


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Therese Van Ryne
Therese Van Ryne

Therese Van Ryne is Senior Director of External Communications for Zebra Technologies. She joined Zebra as part of the acquisition of Motorola Solutions Enterprise business in October 2014. She and her team are laser focused on growing the company’s brand awareness globally aligned with business objectives. Her accomplishments include leading Zebra events with Harvard University and TED as well as the creation of the annual Intelligent Enterprise Index, resulting in positive media coverage, customer engagement and revenue growth.

Prior to Motorola Solutions, Van Ryne worked at SC Johnson where she led corporate communication strategies and drove PR and branding efforts for leading consumer products. One of her top achievements was leading the Windex® placement in the film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” resulting in a 25% sales increase for the brand.

One of PR News’ 2019 Top Women in PR and Crain's Chicago's 2021 Most Notable Executives in Marketing, Therese also has experience as a journalist, editor and producer, reporting nightly from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Van Ryne holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Journalism from Marquette University and an Executive Leadership Master’s Certificate from Cornell University.

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