Valuing our people
I recently read an article covering the make-up of teams today and how we needed to manage in a different way to accommodate the younger element. It was thought provoking and certainly made me stop and think.
What stands out to me, is that some organisations are only looking at costs when considering their format of workforce and are tending to push to move the age profile to younger people. While in essence there is nothing wrong with that, I would highlight you need a diverse team to get the best for your business.
Older employees usually have been with the business many years and have a wealth of knowledge. Additionally they have vast amounts of life experiences which is really useful from handling people to understanding the customer.
Young people, on the other hand, add enthusiasm and energy along usually with IT skills. Having said that my 90 year old mother knows more about IT than a lot of youngsters.
To me the best teams are the most diverse teams, each adding their own take on life and giving a variety of skill sets. And never judge a book by its cover as the employees you think can’t do something usually have hidden talents. Sometimes all it takes is giving that person time and a gentle push in the new direction. One woman I knew generally stayed in the background, yet when put into a management role, which she wasn’t sure about, she positively shone and through her caring ways upped performance and employee engagement. Some people had written her off saying she was too old to be a manager.
In a recent organisation I witnessed an apprentice come in and change the team dynamics. The team had been plodding along. With the young enthusiastic person on board they became livelier and picked up IT skills through coaching by the person. In turn they listened to his problems and supported him through learning the work.
Thinking about strengths, took me to the outside interests people have that the business is often unaware of and could often add something to the business. From football coaching – coaching ability, to artist – designing publicity material and posters, to family history- ability to drill down and identify the right data. This is when it is really useful knowing your employees and enables the employee to share their talents. Making time for chats gives you the opportunity to get to know your people and enrich your business.
Ask yourself if you know your people well and if you don’t, make time to get to know them as a priority.
Have a good rest of the week and whatever you are doing over the Easter break, enjoy yourself.