How To Manage the Older Employee
Employee Management Articles
Submit Articles Back to Articles
Copyright © 2008 Pat Brill
The work force has several different generations functioning side by side.
Each generation has diverse needs which means you will have to manage them
differently. So not only do you have individual styles to deal with, you also
have the employee's generation to include in motivating the employee.
Given the requirements for great talent and the limited talent pool, it's
likely you will have an "older worker" as part of your team. Retention of strong
employees, no matter what generation they reside in, is one of your primary
functions within the company.
What constitutes an "older worker...anyone in the workplace 40 years old and
older." In the U.S., be aware of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA),
which kicks in as soon as an employee turns 40. Within the "older worker"
generation, you will have different needs...40, 55 or 65 year olds...they may
have different workplace needs.
What happens when you are managing an employee who has more years that you do
in the workforce or within the industry? What is your opinion of them? Do you
see them as important members of your team, or view them from the old school and
not up to current business knowledge or technology? It's important that you be
honest with yourself because your perception of that individual affects how you
treat them. How you respond to an employee will affect their productivity, which
in turn affects your business.
So how can you motivate an "older worker?"
An older worker's needs are similar as well as different from other
-Maintain consistent communication around what you expect from them and how
you will support them in meeting these requirements.
-Create a learning environment so they can continue to be productive in the
-Quickly handle conflict to minimize morale issues.
-Provide a healthy dose of appreciation for what they bring to the table.
In addition, respect is important for all your team members but especially
for the "older worker." They want to know that you value their work knowledge.
-If you have an older worker who challenges you because they been in the
field longer than you...don't get defensive. Instead, focus on providing them
with direction, along with a healthy dose of appreciation.
-Get their commitment to help you develop the business. Ask them how they can
effectively contribute to the team. Whenever an employee commits to being part
of the team's success, your job is so much easier.
-Maximize their value by using them as mentors within your team.
-Don't assume you know their career aspirations....check in with them.
-You don't have to prove you're the manager with them...they have been around
the workplace and know all about management roles. Instead, focus on maximizing
what they have to offer to the team. Gain their respect.
-Flexible time...the older worker who is close to retirement may want to work
part time. If you require their knowledge, you may have to be creative to
support their needs.
-Benefits may be the most important aspect of an older workers compensation
plan. Check in to see what they want.
As a manager, you need to provide the same performance expectations for all
team members...no matter what their generation. The difference lies in how
sensitive you are to each employee and what motivates him or her to perform.
About the Author
Pat Brill is the author of the blog "Managing Employees"
http://www.ManagingEmployees.net . You can reach her at
Follow us @Scopulus_News
Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-06-22 22:02:16 in Employee Articles