• Baby Boomers have helped to re-create the face of work as we know it. Not only are there more aging workers than ever before, there are a lot more opportunities for older employees to shine in exciting roles. There has been an increase in 40% in older workers in the last decade. This has created quite the challenge for many human resource management teams, for several reasons. We will examine ways in which to manage a workforce that’s getting older.

    But first, let’s look at a survey that Professor Peter Capelli, of The George W. Taylor School of Management at The Wharton School, uncovered while writing his book Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order. In a poll of older workers about desired work traits, more than 94% said having a friendly work environment where they could use all their skills was important. Another 90-91% said they wanted to be respected by co-workers and have the opportunity to do something worthwhile, with 88% wanting to learn something new. It’s clear that aging workers want the same things as their younger counterparts, so managing them should be a matter of learning what older workers respond best to.

    Providing Stimulating Work – The key to managing an aging workforce is to continue to offer employees at all demographics the ability to work on stimulating, and worthwhile projects. Give older and younger workers alike the ability to use their skills, while fostering learning and teamwork. This will discourage any forms of age discrimination, which is illegal under current employment laws, and will give aging workers a sense of pride about their role as a valid contributor.

    Giving Respect Where it’s Due – All workers need respect, regardless of age. However, when it comes to older employees who were raised by “old school” methods, this respect may be expected by older employees, who can get a little annoyed or even feel threatened by younger employees who don’t feel the same. To deal with this head on, encourage communication among all team members, and help younger workers understand the need for paying respect to others at all levels. Let older workers know they are valued along with every other team member on board.

    Bridging the Age Gap – Perhaps one of the most effective ways to make the workplace more productive when dealing with an aging workforce is to bring employees together into efficient teams. Examine the skill sets of your current teams, and match up those who have a great deal to share with less experienced employees. Encourage mentoring between older and younger employees, to develop more rapport and a supportive environment for all. Remember to always encourage employees at all levels to be their very best on and off the job.

    The best practices in terms of handling an aging workforce may vary from one company to another. View your aging workforce as a valuable asset with a lot to teach the next generation of employees.



    This entry was posted on Friday, December 9th, 2011 at 6:28 pm and is filed under Solutions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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