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Why recruiting teams, not individuals, will drive your business [Podcast]

by Melissa Cafiero

In merely five to ten years, building teams will not only be about recruiting a single person to fill a specific role within an existing organization. Instead, the future of collaborating will involve recruiting entire teams, teams comprising multiple generations and disciplines, which bring a diversity of experiences and ideas. These specialized teams — like family units — will come together for a shared purpose, and will move from company to company as one.

There are many benefits to this new team approach, including increased chances of project success, as well as reduced hierarchy and politics. The latest episode of the Future of X podcast — produced in partnership with OZY — The Future of Collaboration: From Head-Hunting to Team-Hunting dives into how teams will be best able to achieve more and how they can work together most effectively.

A blue-hued image of five gender-diverse team members sitting around a table

When groups of people come together to focus on a specific project, they focus on executing and delivering the best results for the project, without allowing individual egos to get involved. Robin Sherwood, senior director of product management at Smartsheet, thinks companies are beginning to shift into this mindset, even if they aren’t yet there in practice:

“It's not as simple as ‘I need a software developer I … or an accountant.’ It starts to factor into, ‘Do we have the right sets of teams so that each team can be efficient and effective?’ And you could start to look at your teams and your team makeup and say, ‘If we can pull in other factors besides … their level and ... skills and factor in their personalities as well, we might be able to make more effective teams where the team feels successful.’”

Part of that means making sure employees from different generations can work together better. Kara Hamilton, Chief People & Culture Officer at Smartsheet, believes there’s a power in harnessing the perspectives and experiences of people from multiple generations, something she calls “cognitive diversity.”

“For the first time in history, we have five generations in the workplace ... younger generations, millennials, Gen Zs, especially Gen Zs, I think they see work as something they do and not a place [they go], and not constrained by certain hours. For them, I think it's about fulfillment and integration. So we're getting the best for the business and we’re allowing people to bring their whole selves to work — all that good stuff that really leads to sustained performance.”

As companies shift into this team-hunting mindset, workers also need to change how they think about their career trajectories. Thriving in a team-centered workplace can be challenging.

Liselotte Lyngsø, founding partner of Future Navigator, a think tank based in Copenhagen, says that although it can be daunting to be in a work environment that doesn’t fit, once you’ve found people with whom you get along, it’s as if you’re in harmony with your work.

As technology evolves and automation increases — all things that can help teams work more effectively — the crux of success in the workplace is about human connection, says Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, author and creator of the Webby Awards. Seems like the oldest advice is sometimes the best advice.

To find out more about the future of work — and how best to prepare for it — listen and subscribe to the Ozy podcast series The Future of X: The Workplace.