Whether your employees are physically distant from one another or in the same office, teamwork is a necessary component of any successful enterprise. Research has shown that diversity (when workers represent a range of ages, genders, cultures, skill sets, and backgrounds), can enhance a team’s functioning dramatically.
Essentially, divergent experiences bring new ideas and energy. When team members aren’t having the same old discussions or trapped in a “We’ve always done it this way” state of mind, excitement and synergy ensue. For example, let’s look at how having older workers on your team can be beneficial.
1. They often have specific expertise
Quite simply, the longer an individual has been in the workforce, the more opportunity they’ve had to finetune their skills and develop their abilities. It makes sense that if someone has been employed in the same industry or sector for the majority of their career, they’ll have specific knowledge and expertise in that area.
However, there are a large number of competencies that are transferable from one business sector to another. Think of soft skills like decision-making, critical thinking, results-focused orientation, communication, problem-solving, and the like—senior staff have spent considerable time mastering these and others. So, these folks are invaluable to have on any team.
2. They can demonstrate reliability
A staff member who is in the later stages of their working years will often be more reliable. That means they’ll come to work on time, call in sick less often, and complete designated tasks on time. Their reliability extends to taking on additional assignments, which is key when deadlines are tight or the company is short-staffed. Having several senior staff with a strong work ethic will keep your team running smoothly—and show younger workers how to roll up their sleeves and pitch in when needed.
3. They can be confident
In general, people become more confident as they age. They’re increasingly comfortable with who they are as a person and the decisions they make. They know that making mistakes isn’t fatal—it’s part of the journey through life. The ego of youth is gone, and they have nothing left to prove to others.
Senior staff take this belief in themselves to work, and it can be a real boon to the productivity and performance of any team they’re part of. These team members are less likely to be thrown off course by unforeseen circumstances and will support their colleagues effectively to identify issues ahead of time and take action to mitigate them.
4. They can be loyal
For older workers, loyalty comes through in their tendency to stick with a company. When they find a company where they feel appreciated and can use their know-how, they’ll settle down and build a career there. Whether they move up the ranks or stay in a position they love, workers are looking for stability as they age.
Staff members who are mature in years commonly have family members who depend on them financially. This extends to health plans and other benefits their employer may offer. When employees are in for the long haul, this means enterprises skip out on the constant recruiting and hiring cycle, and team members don’t experience the upheaval of frequently changing team members.
5. They can lend a historical perspective
The employees who have been with a firm the longest, understandably, will be older. The historical perspective that these staff members have of the business can be extremely helpful to their team. This memory of how the organization began and the principles that have guided its growth over the years can serve to reinforce the overall company vision for other team members.
Not only that, but a long-range awareness of the particular industry that the enterprise serves is crucial too. This grounding allows senior staff to guide their co-workers in understanding the various market and legislative influences over the years and anticipate what could be coming.
6. They can provide mentorship and leadership
Leadership is best fostered at all levels of an organization. With the wealth of knowledge and experience that older workers have accumulated, younger team members will quite naturally look to them for support and advice. What’s more, senior staff have had years of practice honing their communication skill set. Additionally, they’re more likely to have excellent people skills.
All of this puts these employees in a solid position to lead and mentor their newer colleagues. Their value in this regard extends to coaching those with less experience in the fine art of leadership.
There are a host of other benefits for a team with older workers. Senior staff members foster collaboration and curiosity. They are more apt to display a “can do” attitude that will advance their team. Plus, they know the importance of a good business reputation.