How to get the best out of your older colleagues

Research suggests that experienced staff members are some of the most highly valued by their fellow employees

Retaining experienced staff is becoming a challenge. With the Prime Minister clearing out older men to promote younger women in the Cabinet reshuffle last week, older employees will no doubt be questioning their position in the workplace.

But reassuringly, Doyle Clayton’s recent Age Before Beauty report found that 66 per cent of the 1,000 employees surveyed believed that their older colleagues are just as valuable as their younger colleagues. And 21 per cent said colleagues in their 60s are often more effective as team members – only 8 per cent said colleagues in their 60s were a lot less valuable. Here are some tips to get the best out of older staff.



VALUING EXPERIENCE

It’s important that employers make use of the expertise of older workers. Normally, these are the people with the most experience in the office. Don’t be scared to be publicly appreciative of them – they are valuable to your business, and younger employees can learn a lot from them.

Why not set up a mentoring scheme? You will find that younger employees relish the opportunity to learn from their older peers. Yet it is important not to unlawfully discriminate against anyone because of age – be they younger or older. Evaluate what they bring to the party, not how old they are.



TECHNOLOGY & TRAINING

Technology is constantly advancing, and employers should ensure all staff are up to date. Some older employees may not be familiar with the latest programmes, software or social media developments, and may feel less confident when working with modern technology. Offering regular training sessions can help reduce the risk of an older employee being at a disadvantage. Investing time and money in training will not only increase your employees’ skill set for application in your business, it will also make them feel more valued.



GOING FOR OPPORTUNITIES

Generation Y employees are very confident in expressing their expectations and needs. Older employees should feel they too can approach their employer to discuss promotions and salary increases. They should be encouraged to take as much advantage of these opportunities as their younger colleagues. After all, older staff often have the benefit of experience and expertise that younger employees lack. Employers should make sure that all employees are considered for promotions equally, regardless of age.



SOCIALISING

It is important to make sure that all staff feel part of the team, and that they work well together no matter what their age. Organising social events is a great way to strengthen these relationships. As they say, a team that socialises together works well together. Away days and team building exercises always help to foster team spirit, as do a few drinks or a meal at the end of the day. When planning team events or training, ensure you take everyone’s needs into account to create an inclusive, stimulating and dynamic environment.

Jessica Corsi is a partner and employment law specialist at Doyle Clayton, the UK’s largest employment law firm.


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