I was recently in a meeting with some men and women in their 20’s and it’s hard not to fall in love with the energy and creativity of youth. Let’s face it: Our society worships youth and we have come to assign tremendous value to the good looks and youthful persona that these new graduates bring to the office. Yes, they are wonderful in many ways… but it’s important to remember so are employees from other generations.
Here’s a different story. My friend, we’ll call her Joan, had been out of the workforce since her first child was born, 25 years ago. She got a part-time job in a small company doing administrative work (which she had previous experience with). One day, she called me in tears, saying she could not understand how to use various Excel functions or create a PDF. Even though the young people in the office had shown her a few times, she still couldn’t do it nearly as quickly as they could.
Fast forward one year and all of the young staff are gone but Joan is still with the company. Why? Let’s consider different generations and what they bring to your office. We’ll start with the younger generation of workers.
Staff in their 20’s and early 30’s:
Staff in their late 30’s and 40’s:
Employees in these two age groups are out to prove themselves, contribute their skills and knowledge, with the hopes of elevating their careers. Still, as they seek to find a position of value to them, their commitment to your business may wain.
In my next post, I’ll take a look at the pros and cons of hiring employees aged 50 and above, as well as revisit Joan’s situation, to find out how she managed to outlast many of the younger employees in her workplace.
Marilyn Sinclair is a Toronto-based entrepreneur, who owns WordCheck and iContent. WordCheck and iContent provide “everything to do with words” for all industries, including writing, editing, proofreading and all-language translation.