July 7th is/was my birthday depending on when you are reading this. I will admit it was my 63rd. I am aware of issues with being older and the perceptions people have of you capabilities. As I was reviewing some material I came across this brief article by Michael North and Hal Hershfield called Accommodate Older Workers. I am going to tell you their tips and add a few comments myself.
Creating new positions or adapting old ones.
To North and Hershfield this meant to retrain older employees for jobs that better suit their current needs and skills. My comment: Older workers are often overlooked for retraining based on a couple of assumptions. These include: time an employee may have in the workforce; capabilities both physical and mental and desire. All I can say is never ASSUME. As the saying goes if you assume it will make an ass of you and me.
I have no intention of retiring anytime soon and many of my age cohort feel the same way. I am also very capable of learning new things, some of which are very technical. So don’t ignore me for that next assignment.
My Comment: Ok, some older workers do want to retire, but slowly. Why not take advantage of the wealth of knowledge they have and retain them for longer, training younger workers who do not have the institutional knowledge you may need. There is value to understanding the history of things. Flexible retirement will allow you to move younger workers forward but retain valuable workers you have.
Changing workplace ergonomics.
Companies should adapt for those who need extra support. Inexpensive tweaks like custom shoes and easier-to-read computer screens can make a huge difference. My Comment: For those of you on your toes this is basically REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION. As you get older hearing does fade, as does eyesight. Feet hurt, we get achy, as will you. Having some comfortable furniture and equipment will be able to help everyone do a better job.
There is my rant about getting older. If you want to leave a comment do so. If you want to Tweet about this you can do that too… if you know how to do that.
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