Small Business Advice
Smart Employers Recognize the Benefits of a Multigenerational Workforce
QUESTION: I am a 50-something person with lots of experience and was recently laid off because of a corporate merger. I am not having much luck in my job search and feel my age may be a factor. What do you suggest?
ANSWER: Your age should not be a factor. If you feel you are being discriminated against, you should seek legal counsel.
I find it remarkable that we can elect someone in his 70s as President of the United States -- the leader of the free world -- and some employers are still reluctant to hire seasoned veterans in their 50s and 60s. A smart employer recognizes the benefits of a multigenerational workforce.
Baby Boomers are those individuals born between 1946 and 1964. They bring with them -- and can share a wealth of -- real world experiences, some of which were learned in the school of “hard knocks.” Many make reliable customer service representatives who possess excellent communication skills and take pride in the work they do. They are inclined to be loyal to an employer who treats them with respect.
Generation X, born between 1965 and 1981, are the product of Baby Boomer parents. They are resourceful and both willing and able to work through tedious and time consuming problems. They were introduced to technology at an early age and view it as a means to increase their marketability.
Many Millennials, born after 1981, are well educated and have grown up in an age of advanced technology. Their computer and social media skills make them a great asset to any business. They are able to multi-task and can generally relate well to each other. They are idealistic, sometimes impatient, but most want to make this world a better place.
The trick is to create a culture that understands the strengths of each generation and how each can share in and contribute to the goals of the organization. Discourage stereotypes like Baby Boomers are stuck in the past or Millennials are looking for shortcuts to success. Goals can more easily be achieved when everyone is treated with respect and pulling in the same direction.
A good way to get young and older employees on the same page is to develop multigenerational teams. When you blend varying ideas and viewpoints, often the end result is quite innovative.
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with the Naples Chapter of SCORE.
A SCORE counselor since 2005, Gray Poehler owned and operated an independent insurance agency with 20 employees and two locations. He has earned the Certified Insurance Counselor designation and is familiar with both personal and commercial property and casualty insurance. Areas of expertise include: Business Finance and Accounting; Business Strategy and Planning; Business Operations; Human Resources and Internal Communications; Sales, Marketing and Public Relations.
To learn more about management issues of small businesses, contact the SCORE office nearest you.