I recently gave a talk at the Recruitment Expo in Birmingham in partnership with No Desire To Retire.
For once the talk wasn’t just about the virtues of more experienced workers on their own. Instead, I talked about the virtues of experienced workers as part of a team. Or to give it the fully jargon-loaded phrase ‘The multi-generational team’.
Obviously older workers have the benefit of experience: they will be better equipped to deal with most situations – and able to show others how to deal with them – because they are more likely to have been through them before. Older workers also tend to be better at dealing with emotional conflict, more willing to compromise and more loyal to the organisation they work with.
All this is very nice and of course we would say it. But what has got employers excited is the growing evidence that having older workers in a team leads to improved performance.
Studies by the likes of Mercer Consulting and the recruitment agency Randstad point to increased productivity and the desire of people to work in multi-generational teams. Perhaps more compellingly, employers are beginning to recruit them.
There was a time when every presentation on this subject would include an obligatory nod to B&Q who for ages seemed to be the only large employer proactively recruiting older workers. But now we can point to Deutsche Bank who have proactively embraced mixed-age teams and to BMW who have found that older workers are not only quicker but also more accurate and less likely to take time off work for sickness. We can also point to Mastercard who have introduced a reverse mentoring programme to retain older employees, to Sainsbury’s where 25% of staff are over 50 and to Mercedes who have introduced the slightly tongue-and-brain-twistingly entitled: Young and Experienced together Successful (YES) programme. Many others are joining them.
This is excellent news because it shows that employers are beginning to recognise the value of experience rather than paying lip service to it as a social responsibility commitment. Hiring experienced people is good for everyone. Just ask B&Q.