Carolyn Martin of Rainmaker Thinking Inc. encourages her clients to develop mentoring programs so that important company and industry knowledge is passed from older to younger employees. "[Older workers] are walking out the door with a gold mine of experience, product knowledge, and historical perspective, and we're letting them go," she said at a recent economic conference. "Knowledge as power is out. Knowledge shared is in. Everyone, no matter what their age, is a teacher and a learner." Martin even suggests that employers seek to hire older workers who can teach younger ones. Typically, she says, members of the baby boom generation—who are now beginning to retire—go on to start second careers anyway. "Proactively recruit 50-plus people," she advises. "The older worker is cool. There are not enough Gen-X and -Y to replace them all."
In this activity, you will see another example of a company, Randstad, which is effectively leveraging older workers and pairing them up with Gen-Y'ers. You'll watch the video and consider the questions that are posed as a way to more effectively understand the magic of the multigenerational office.
The baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is aging. Today, almost 4 out of 10 workers are age 45 or older, and the median age of America's workforce is rising as the number of older workers swells, while the number of young workers grows only slightly. At the same time, companies need to compete hard for the smaller pool of young talent, being prepared for applicants who know the job market and are ready to demand the working conditions they value and the praise they were raised to expect. Today's companies are learning the value of both young and older workers—and finding new ways to encourage them to collaborate. Pooling the knowledge of experienced workers with the energy and fresh ideas of younger workers can create a powerful workforce.
One of the reasons this mentoring arrangement works so well is that there isn't the _________ that often exists among those closer in age.