Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Working With Older Employees

Put your misconceptions aside: Older employees bring a lot of value to organizations. Check out these pieces from our archives to get a better handle on age-diversity issues.

Remove the phrase “a young person’s game” from your vocabulary. Truth of the matter is, associations should have a diversity of voices—and ages—across the organization, as experienced staffers often carry different skill sets that your association needs.

With that in mind, here is a selection of pieces from the Associations Now and archives about older employees:

Embracing Age Diversity Is “Continuing Journey” for Employers, Says AARP Leader. This report from a 2014 edition of ASAE’s Finance, HR, and Business Operations Conference features Jo Ann Jenkins, the current CEO of AARP, discussing the importance of ensuring age diversity within organizations, as well as how to manage intergenerational conflict. “Embracing diversity has been a long and continuing journey for employers in all sectors across America, and it has taught us that the power of inclusion and diversity is America’s strength,” she said during her session.

The Risks of Innovation Leaving Older Workers Behind. With IT departments made up largely of employees under the age of 45—61 percent, according to CompTIA data—there is a real risk of older employees not getting the training they need on topics of innovation, and worse, facing age bias with technical roles. This piece highlights the trend lines as well as work that AARP and other organizations are doing to keep older workers up to date.

Why Your Association Should Hire Older Employees. Older Americans are working at higher rates than they have traditionally, and that might mean you’ll meet with candidates who have been around the block a few times. This piece, featuring an interview with David Gamse, former CEO of the Jewish Council for the Aging, makes the case for workers to stay active in the workforce if they so choose. “A 60-, 70-, 80-year-old today can still be vibrant and in good health, and is certainly not the rocking chair generation that we have looked at—or have believed older people to be—in the past,” he said.

Report: Ageism a Common Problem With Technology Roles. The bias toward hiring young talent for tech roles is a common one, and it could be raising older workers’ concerns about leaving their current roles, according to a 2017 study on the topic from the job search firm Indeed. “There is a serious disconnect here: a contradiction, even. The older workers get, the more concerned they are about their careers,” the firm’s Raj Mukherjee wrote in the report. “And yet most of their colleagues at tech firms believe they still have much to contribute.” Despite this perception, a study from NTT finds that older employees are often better with cybersecurity practices than younger counterparts.

How to Counter Ageism in Recruitment and Onboarding. The biggest area to stop age discrimination before it starts may be the hiring and onboarding processes. This piece discusses ways to ensure that recruiting happens in spaces where more seasoned employees are, as well as how to discourage screening by age, and ways to offer professional development through reverse mentorships.

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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