There is a perception, mostly with the millennials, that after a certain age you are not functioning at a level that is suitable for business. It is felt that you will be absent more and in general be a drain on the organization.
Age is just a number and I know lots of highly functioning individuals in their ‘80’s who continue to work and earn a living. For many it is not about the money. They have accumulated amazing experience in their lifetime and want to use it and feel useful. They’re also not interested in taking your job, they just want to work.
A wise move for companies is to employ a broad range of ages as mentorship goes all ways. Not only the Baby Boomers mentoring the Millennials but vice-versa. Whoever said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, was mistaken. They just didn’t know how to teach.
Some feel that older workers just can’t keep up to the pace but experience has usually taught them to be more efficient with their time. Another myth is that they take more sick days but they actually take less and have less accidents.
As for tech savvy, they are the fastest growing demographic on social media. Most want to learn new skills and the trend has been for companies to decrease the money spent on training for the older worker, then they wonder why they are not up to speed.
There are a lot of companies who are either concerned that they can’t find skilled workers or worried that they will have a problem in the future. Why not encourage your older workers to stay on? They may not want full time so consider reduced hours to keep the expertise inhouse so that they can pass on their knowledge to those coming up in the organization?
It does not mean they shouldn’t look for new younger employees but would give a balance and sharing of skills and expertise in the organization. In the 1990’s companies flattened their organizations and got rid of middle management. These were the mentors of the future and the companies lost a generation of knowledge in their operations. For many, this was a short-term solution that created a long-term problem.
We’re not old, we are experienced! Time to change the thinking!
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