Age, albeit a number, can prove to be an important one in workplaces especially for young managers having senior people working under them. And this could be very much a possibility owing to the fact that senior citizens over 65 years of age are choosing to remain in the workforce for a few more years. According to a Singapore Times feature published in May 2016, the Singapore Government has also promised subsidies to companies hiring professionals above the age of 65.
It is important to understand that senior employees add value to the organization in various ways. They are loyal, committed, and meticulous about their work and duties In turn, they require suitable working environment that boosts their productivity. They need to be motivated and trained periodically for morale boosting and skill enhancement.
Therefore, as a manager, it could be quite thoughtful to determine their improvement areas and chart out an annual training schedule in advance. The provision to rent training room whenever needed also makes it convenient and budget friendly.
In addition, there are a few more constructive efforts to undertake in order to be a successful manager to senior workforce members. We discuss some here.
Make a Serious Attempt to Know Them on a Personal Level
Plan a meeting with each member of your workforce. Don’t make the interaction farcical. Keep your tone respectful. Frame meaningful questions to put forth. Know how they came about joining the organization, what has made them stick through, what motivates them most and their strengths and weaknesses. Enquiring a bit about their families is also a great way to connect instantly.
Refrain from Assumptions
Assumptions or preconceived notions are to be strictly avoided when dealing with senior members of the workforce. For instance, just because your team member is in his fifties does not mean he or she is not updated with new technology! In fact, some may even be better than you! Judge them fairly. In case updating is required, you can always rent classroom and plan sessions for their benefit.
Be Transparent in Your Dealings
In some organizations, older employees tend to have a bigger say. However, if you, as a manager, can be absolutely open and transparent about your decisions, expectations and goals; age becomes a non entity. When you make the right decisions and evaluate your team members in absolute fairness, even those who are older than you can find justification in your decisions. They also learn to value you as a leader.
Boost their Self Esteem
Just as motivating your ageing workforce is important, it is equally essential to involve and engage them in activities like training and mentoring younger employees. They can be asked to educate newly joined members about company policies and directives, codes of conduct, standard operating procedures and so on. This will help in enhancing their self esteem. You can advice them to rent training rooms for these sessions and even help them plan the program sequentially.
And most importantly, communicate. Give clear instructions with respect to what you want them to do. Be specific and precise. And always value their life experiences. Your older subordinate has been around for much longer. He or she may be better informed about certain aspects. Seeking advice where you feel the need to; will only make them appreciate you more as a leader and mentor.
To read our previous article, please click here.