It’s a Team not an Age Debate
There’s recent input from employers that seems to show drastically different results on the type of workers employers want to hire. One survey would suggest that employers want to hire seasoned older workers¹ , another article discussed why employers would rather hire younger workers² . Which information is right? Maybe it’s not so much deciding which one of the viewpoints is right as taking the results for what they are: that employers need the right mix of workers in their workforce. In the end hiring new employees is really about creating the right team. Each type of worker fills a necessary spot on that team. Without a mix of diverse workers, an employer won’t have a strong team. Employers need to think about what old workers and young workers bring to the team they are creating:
1. Older workers.
a. Reality based. They’ve lived through the ups and downs of various business cycles. They understand what should and can be expected in a company setting. They are realistic about business goals and outcomes.
b. Well seasoned. They have on the job knowledge in their business areas. They have expertise in the field that they’ve worked in for years. They’ve developed a skill set that they can apply right away.
c. Understand a business environment. They understand what it takes to be successful and what does and doesn’t work in the business world.
d. Well honed set of soft skills. They are more mature having developed soft skills over the years. These skills may make them more able to deal with customers and fellow workers in a business setting.
e. Fewer personal distractions. The personal issues of managing a young family are mainly nonexistent. They have more ability to focus their energies on work.
f. Insight. They have a more clear idea of their goals in life and the path they want to go. They have a better understanding of which company is the best fit for them. This can make them more satisfied employees and a better fit than younger workers who haven’t yet defined their goals or needs in a job.
2. Young workers.
a. Idealistic. Motivated by strong idealism to get things done at all costs. Strong cheerleaders for a company if they believe in what the company is trying to do.
b. Energetic. Very energetic in approach at work. They have raw energy that can be molded. Ability to give more energy consistently to the day to day tasks.
c. Up to date on current trends and tools. May have just received schooling or training on using latest tools, techniques, or applying latest business concepts. Have ability to bring new ideas to the company.
d. Blank slate. Haven’t had time to settle into bad habits. Haven’t been trained to do things differently than how things are done at the company. Can be trained to do things the company way.
e. Motivated. Want to prove they are capable and up for the job. Will put in effort to achieve company goals to rise the company ladder.
f. Moldable. Can be molded to meet company’s needs. Willing to change. Not set in ways.
For employers, hiring should be about focusing on building a company team. It is all about finding different players to fill different roles, not about hiring identical types of players. Sure having a mix of older and younger players on the same team might be harder to manage, but if an employer has the ability to manage them correctly, then in the long run the employer will have a more productive team that will better meet the company’s goals and needs. When an employer limits the types of employees they are willing to hire they limit their own options and growth potential and limit their ability to create a winning team.