When young entrepreneur is starting their own business, there are good chances that they prefer working with those who are in the same age group as them. This tendency is understandable, as younger employees tend to be easier to manage. They also have the ability to adapt to new working environment and adjust their attitude in the new culture within relatively short time.
However, owing to one and another reason, there are times when young leader has to work with older employees. What should you do if you are in this position?
Although it is not rare to find a case when younger employer hiring older employees, such situation can be very awkward. As a young leader, you might be worried that your employees give less respect to you because of the age. When they are more experienced and have better skills than you, you might be worried that your leadership will be underestimated. Not to mention, working with them requires more efforts as older employees might have less skills in using the latest technology than people in your age.
While hiring older employees comes with its own disadvantages, working with them also has its own benefits. Given their long tenure, they can contribute to the company’s development with their ample skills, experiences, expertise, as well as wisdom. You should not doubt to hire older employees, as long as you understand the right way to manage them. Right portion between respect and professionalism will help you get the best of them.
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Acknowledge their expertise
Being in the workforce longer than anyone else means that older workers are gaining more experiences and developing in-depth knowledge in particular expertise. No wonder, when hiring older employees, there is high possibility they might have better knowledge and understanding about the business than you. Instead of acting like a ‘know-it-all’ leader, you should acknowledge employees’ expertise, especially when they are older than you. This attitude will not make them undermine your authority. Instead, you will gain respect as unpretentious and humble leader.
Use them as a mentor
Hiring older workers with long tenure and wide experiences give you the privilege of having expert in the team. Working at several companies during their career journey, older employees have gained rich experiences of working under different managers with different characteristics. You can learn insightful leadership skills and work management methods from other organisation from them. Here is your chance to take meaningful feedbacks and ask for advices to improve your management system.
Understand their motivation
Today’s Millennial generation is known to be driven by passion, which then affects the way they perceive work. Meanwhile, older employees who come from different generation might have different motivation to work. Baby Boomers, for example, tend to pursue financial stability and security at work. Understanding their motivation will help you provide the right compensation for older employees. You can encourage older employees by offering attractive incentive and certain career path.
Value the differences in lifestyle
There comes a time when your older employees come knocking your room only to tell you about particular work issues, while other employees prefer to send you text or make a phone call. This is one of differences between your generation and the older generation. They might believe that face to face communication is the best method of communication. The other differences can be found in fashion style, meal preferences, hobby and interest, as well as others aspect of culture. Instead of forcing them to adapt themselves with modern culture, you should value the differences. However, it is also important to let them know about today’s trend and culture.
Provide the right training
Older employees tend to have less skill of technology than today’s generation. This might be a dilemma when you have to hire potential and experienced person but having less tech-related skills. All you can do is to provide the right training, especially tech-training. Assigning a mentor to guide the use tech-system in your workplace for older employees can be a good way to address the issue of tech illiteracy among older employees.
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