I Have a Dog in This Fight (Albeit an "Older" Dog)
As a boomer, I admit that articles about older workers tend to get my attention. I read an interesting one the other day on bbc.com that spoke to the "secret strengths" of older workers. I wondered why these strengths should be considered such a secret!
I do know that there is a certain amount of reluctance in the
workplace that continues to hamper the efforts of older workers...and
worry younger managers. And that's a shame because there is some
amazing talent out there that can and should be tapped.
The article references Shawn VanDerziel, a 40-ish chief of human resources for the Field Museum in Chicago, and Dirk van Dierendonck, professor of human resource management at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands. Both had some great insight to share.
Here are some of the benefits of hiring older workers and some words of advice to bring out the best in them.
have good ideas. There is an advantage to having been around awhile.
You can accumulate some good ideas that are just as fresh as those
coming from younger workers, but with a dose of reality that comes from
more years of experience.
They are more technologically
adept than you think. This is one of the stubborn myths about many older
workers. If they are still working, they are using plenty of
technology. According to Dirk van Dierendonck, older workers complete assignments faster than many younger workers.
They are loyal. "If
you're building your company or department for the long run, it may be
more profitable to invest in people who are invested in the
organization," van Dierendonck said. "You're more likely to see that
investment from older workers. They don't need hand holding.
They are more independent, VanDerziel said, and they don't need
constant feedback about how they're doing. More than anything, he said
he's learned about when to back off.
One last benefit that VanDerziel shares with us. "They're
also not going to take that criticism personally," he said. "With
millennials, you might want to put feedback in context, to give them
What have your experiences been working with older employees? We'd like to share your stories. Let us know what you think about old stereotypes and how you have adapted to older workers.
First, a definition of IoT, courtesy of Officing Today, for those who may not yet know what IoT stands for:
"The Internet of Things is a vast collection of physical
objects connected through an online network. "Things," in this sense,
is virtually anything with the ability to connect to the Internet:
smartphones, smart TVs, monitoring implants, fitness bracelets, cars
with built-in bluetooth, tracking sensors...the list is endless."