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Productivity

Another Diversity At Work: Age

What will businesses be losing if they don’t hire, or don’t hire back, older workers?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

We work in a very open, accepting workplace. We’re lucky. Some of our employees aren’t physically 100%, and there are mental health issues as well we always have to consider. But we also have a range of ages in our office. And we all realise we have something to contribute.

Having a multi-generational office gives us an advantage for so many reasons!

Different opinions. We can ask for opinions on anything for a specific age group. If we are trying to market to younger people, we ask the younger staff members about advertising tools: things like is Insta more likely to work than FB? When wanting to use new online service tools for our clients, we ask everyone if they can use it. Our older staff members who aren’t so tech savvy must be able to use anything we hand out to customers. Any time we design new services and platforms, we make sure it can be used by all possible age ranges wanting our services.

Permanent trend changes. Current trends might have an impact in our industry, and we look at everything that might change our services, for the better. When looking at possible changes, we consider if it is something any of our own staff members would utilise. If any generation in particular feels it might work, we give it a go! Sometimes there are trends that the younger people really react positively to, and feel it might be a permanent change. We can run with that. And if the older people in our office turn up their noses at something and won’t even consider it, we have to expect that will translate as a similar response to the wider community.

New skills vs old skills. This one seems pretty obvious, but not all employers think all skills are still relevant. I have lost count of the number of times our Managers have asked the older employees for advice on something. It could be something very simple, but the younger generations just don’t know how to do it. It doesn’t have to be something technical like perfect shorthand, but even general processes have been lost over the years. And the younger employees have a whole new skill set to teach us older ones – mostly involving technology. Using phones to do absolutely everything! And the sheer number of apps online and on phones that can help you organise yourself, track every aspect of your job, and help set up reminders. 

There are so many facets to tech and IT that we can’t list them all here. But knowing about and accepting these forms of technology have helped our older staff members in their personal lives immensely. It has taken quite a while for us to all learn each other’s strengths. That’s the same for any business. But I think the range of skills, opinions and abilities certainly gives us a massive advantage. 

So many aged workers are not being rehired in the return to work since the pandemic began easing up. Once numbers began to normalise again, and everyone began returning to the office, not all were treated equally. I know some workers who were made redundant, and then are looking to be hired back again once the company needs them: my daughter’s friends. People my age aren’t seeming as confident about their requirement to be rehired. 

What will businesses be losing if they don’t hire, or don’t hire back, older workers? The experience alone, whether for the specific company and its history, or the broader industry and what has and hasn’t worked previously, is all lost if they do not share their knowledge. The general knowledge of working in a particular office, the way your personality helps with customers, a lot of tips and tricks that only older people would have learnt eons ago will walk out the door and no one will benefit from that.

Not to speak ill of any younger generations, but things are very different now. I was taught subjects and topics in school my children never heard of, and now my youngest is pretty much “guided” in his learning more than taught anything. I have tried to parent based on my experience: I don’t want them to have to be a slave to the house and the cleaning, I want them to have fun childhoods. But I also raised them to respect their elders and be polite in public. Hopefully I have raised young adults that are able to do anything they set their minds to, while being very resilient in the workforce and able to adapt when situations change.

The world may have moved on from “the customer is always right”, but the attitudes displayed by employees dictate the responses from clients and if these ideals aren’t passed onto the younger generation, customer service changes for good. Many times you hear complaints, in person and online, about how customer service is lacking. The ability to leave impersonal reviews on Google should be enough to make businesses consider their tactics. But having someone on your staff who knows how to handle customer queries and complaints, or teach these tips to youngsters, can save you a bucket load of money in the long run. Knowing an industry inside out, means that you do not have to keep reinventing the wheel just to answer a customer query. 

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Joanne French
Written By

As a Business Development Manager at SecureCash, I help people with their options to bank through us, safer. Follow her on LinkedIn and website.

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