Part 3 of 3: The Diversity of Aging – Considerations and Issues in the Workplace

This blog concludes my three part series on the diversity of aging that I began in late June. In part one (link), I provided a general introduction to the topic of aging and shared some recent personal experiences that motivated me to write this series of blogs. In part 2 (link), I explored the intersection of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) and Aging Diversity.
In this final blog I will focus on two key areas for companies and organizations to consider in terms of aging or mature workers:
Aging workers
1) Are the talents and expertise of older employees being fully leveraged?

2) Are companies building the required pipeline of new leaders as older employees retire?

In terms of fully leveraging the talents and expertise of older, experienced employees, here are some ideas:

• Now with four generations of workers on the job, are you providing solid training so that the diverse groups can work together in a respectful and productive way?
• Are you introducing innovative programs for mature employees such as part time work as a bridge to full retirement?

AARP (An Ally for Real Possibilities) provides a wide range of resources (link) for the experienced worker.

The current experienced workforce is now one of the largest segments in the USA due to the increased birthrate from 1945 – 1964. This generation, often referred to as “baby boomers” are retiring in increasing rates and many companies are experiencing a critical talent shortage. Ideas for addressing the need to grow a leadership talent pipeline include:
• Do you have robust programs in place to engage your younger employees in meaningful career development and growth? Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer offers an innovative program using career maps of successful professionals to provide ideas and guidance to all employees. You can read this recent online article about this unique process.
• Are you taking full advantage of senior employees by asking them to mentor junior employees? This can be a great way to foster institutional knowledge transfer and to make the senior employees feel good about their work and accomplishments.
• Do your diversity programs include leadership elements so that your future leadership pipeline is as broad as possible and includes a full mix of gender, race, LGBT and other aspects of diversity?

Proper treatment and leveraging of the aging worker population can indeed be built into a business advantage instead of becoming a major issue!

Career Road Mapping / Career Management – Part 2

It has been awhile! Back in April I published Part 1 of this series about career road mapping, an innovative approach that I offer to corporations and professional societies using one page career maps of successful professionals within a targeted functional area as a way of providing career guidance and ideas to junior employees. Here is a link to that blog.

I presented this approach to a standing room only crowd in October at the North Carolina SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) state conference. In addition to presenting the career road mapping process, I also provided an overview of five career development concepts:

1. A good career development plan will have a mix of both short term development goals and activities to improve skills in the current position, and of looking out 3, 5 or even 10 years at long term development goals.
2. Ultimately, each employee owns and is responsible for his or her own career. Only the individual themselves know what they want out of a career, what they like and dislike, what really gets them enthused about their vocation. We can provide tools to help employees discover their optimal vocations, but they need to do the work and explore within themselves.
3. Give thought to whether you prefer to be a specialist with a deep expert knowledge in a specific area, or a generalist who understands more of the “big picture” and enjoys moving across different functional areas. Also it is possible to switch between being a specialist and a generalist during one’s career.
4. Analyzing the next position should not be an emotional decision, but instead an analytical one taking into account the importance of different attributes of a job, and comparing current position to the possible new position. See below for a tool to use to do this exercise.

5. Mentoring is one of the most productive yet underutilized tools to use in career development. In fact I recommend having multiple mentors that could include leaders in your current position, someone in the job you aspire to next, and perhaps someone in the same life situation. Link to my August 17th blog on mentoring.

If you would like to discuss how I can help your organization with a career road mapping project, or if you want a copy of my presentation on this topic, please contact me, [email protected]