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Foster a multi-generational workforce and be an employer for the ages

If you are seeking to foster a high-performing workforce in your organisation, it would be counter-productive (not to mention narrow-minded) to subscribe to the saying “out with the old, in with the new”.

Long-held myths about mature age workers (e.g. they are change-averse, they are not tech-savvy, they have a ‘use by date’, etc.) have been debunked by research published by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and many other authorities. There is also evidence that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can gain a competitive advantage when they maintain a multi-generational workforce, where complementary skillsets create synergies.

Indeed, a 2014 white paper released by The Executive Connection (TEC), titled Finding the Gold in Silver Hair, states that organisations are realising that a diverse workforce (not an ‘eternally youthful’ one) is necessary to reflect the expectations and life experiences of their customers. The paper explains that ‘real benefits’ can be derived from ‘mixing an organisation’s employment profile across the entire age spectrum’ – particularly when there is intergenerational collaboration.

According to the paper, ‘cross-generational mentoring’ is a great way to ensure the success of intergenerational collaboration because its makes participating employees ‘feel empowered and able to make a contribution that is valued by their [colleagues]’. It involves mature age workers sharing their experiences and their younger peers challenging existing practices with new ideas and fresh perspectives.

For example, younger workers are very entrepreneurial, innovative and open to new ideas, which is a plus in an era of business where the only constants are disruption and change. Further, they are generally more ‘at home’ with new technologies and are willing to share their knowledge with older workers, who have been shown to readily engage with IT innovations when the business or productivity gain is made clear. Owing to diverse backgrounds, many younger workers can also offer insights that help their older peers adapt to change business and workforce dynamics.

In turn, mature age workers possess valuable intellectual capital, deep industry knowledge and strong personal networks, built up over many years. As such, younger employees and executives growing into a role often welcome the advice of a more experienced colleague who has been through similar situations.  Whereas mature age workers tend to be more motivated to perform to the best of their ability and have a greater sense of job loyalty, which helps create stability within businesses, younger workers tend to be job hoppers – but this is also an advantage for employers due to the ‘re-energising nature of career change’.

Employers can approach their local jobactive provider for tailored recruitment services at no cost to their business. Alternatively, they can advertise vacancies through the jobactive website or free app (available from iTunes and Google Play). To ensure a supply of job-ready candidates for these businesses, jobactive providers work with reliable and ambitious job seekers to help them obtain the skills local employers need and overcome barriers to employment.

There are financial incentives for business that employ job seekers through jobactive. Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria can access wage subsidies of up to $10,000 for hiring mature age workers (50+) or workers aged 15 to 24 years of age. Meanwhile, businesses that hire eligible job seekers who are 25 to 29 year of age, principal carer parents, in long-term unemployment or indigenous can obtain up to $6,500 in wage subsidies.

For more information on the wage subsidies your business may be eligible for, click here.

For more information on how jobactive can help you in the hiring process, watch the below video ‘Scrumptious on Summer’ cafe. 

Scrumptious on Summer cafe used jobactive to help expand their business. 

Owner of Scrumptious on Summer Cafe in Orange, Suzy, shares what she looks for when hiring new staff and how she was able to find the right fit for the Scrumptious family with jobactive. If you’re looking for the right staff to fit your business, find out how jobactive can help – https://jobsearch.gov.au/find-the-right-fit 



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James Harkness

James Harkness

James Harnkess previous editor at Dynamic Business

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