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Take advantage of the potential of older workers

Take advantage of the potential of  older workers

The global population is aging. However, companies still have trouble fully capitalizing on their over-fifty workforce. How can you elicit the full potential of older workers?

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Companies do not take sufficient advantage of the value of their older workforce: traditional career management and talent retention policies are geared toward the 25 to 45 age bracket.  As a result, older employees—with the exception of a few top executives—often feel sidelined and tend to become disengaged. For good reason! Often considered to be slow, fussy and reluctant to change, older employees get passed by when the most stimulating jobs are handed out.

Certainly, integrating older employees presents some real challenges.  Young managers find it harder to relate to older subordinates, especially since the latter may cling to obsolete professional practices, leading to inefficiencies and interpersonal coordination problems.

Yet, jumping to the conclusion that older employees are simply not adapted to the needs of today’s businesses is a mistake.

For although older workers may face certain difficulties, they also offer some real advantages, such as greater emotional maturity.  And the obstacles to their integration are far from insurmountable. The experts thus encourage companies to capitalize on their employees over 50 by focusing on three dimensions:

-Recognize the specific advantages of older workers. Some types of drive and abilities tend to develop with age. By identifying ways to turn these assets to good advantage, companies can entrust the older members of the organization with more productive and motivating roles.

-Sensitize young managers to the specific particularities of managing their elders. A better understanding of intergenerational differences and their own reticence to exercise authority over older subordinates will help them establish more constructive relationships.

-Help older workers adapt. To integrate effectively, older workers must be able to challenge traditional conceptions and habits inherited from the past which may no longer be valid or efficient.


 


 


 


 


 


 

Synthèse n°210a


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