How older workers help team morale
You may have read in our other No Desire To Retire Resources article how organisations can benefit from older workers, who have skills such as higher loyalty, stronger work ethics and genuine care for customers. Taking this a step further, more and more organisations are now recognising the advantages of these older workers and taking advantage of this by increasing colleague-to-colleague mentoring to boost skills and teamwork in the workplace. This brings benefits on three levels: -
Benefits to the mentee of having an older mentor
Benefits to the older mentor
Benefits to the organisation
1. Benefits to the mentee of having an older mentor
Exposure to a broader network
Those who have been in work for a longer period of time can often have a wider network, knowing who is skilled or connected in certain areas. An older mentor can introduce their colleagues to relevant members of their network, opening doors for them that may otherwise have been out of reach.
A quick way to gain skills, knowledge
Sometimes you just can’t wait for a course or other formal method of learning; you need to know what to do now so that you can perform. With a mentor, a mentee has open access to a pool of knowledge they can tap into in the context of their day to day role, so they learn fast at the moment of need.
2. Benefits to the older mentor
Retention- The opportunity to give back to both the mentee and the organisation can help to deepen or reignite the mentor’s connection and engagement with the workplace, leading to higher retention.
Skills refresh - Good mentoring is built on a solid foundation of interpersonal skills, including questioning, listening and rapport building. Mentoring therefore will further strengthen the skills of the older worker, skills which are becoming more important for the future workplace.
Purpose and worth - The opportunity to pass on knowledge, skills and connections will help to heighten the mentor’s sense of purpose and self-worth in the workplace, which inevitably means they will be more motivated and engaged.
Continuous learning - As with any relationship, a mentoring relationship is two-way. By mentoring a younger worker, the older worker will in turn learn more about other areas of the organisation and different ways of working, which will further cement their own learning and growth.
Re-energising- An older mentor may have been in their career for 20 years or more, and sometimes this can lead to people feeling jaded. Having a mentee to focus on, develop and learn from will help older workers re-ignite their energy for the organisation by seeing things through fresh eyes.
3. Benefits to the organisation
A multi-generational culture built on trust, inclusion and understanding - As we increasingly see four generations, even five, working together, the use of mentoring across the ages can ease some of the cited challenges of the multi-generational workforce as colleagues truly understand the motivations and objectives of their colleagues, regardless of age.
Ready-made organisational ambassadors - With the increased engagement of older mentors through their heightened sense of self-worth, ability to give back and own continuous learning, they will be even stronger advocates of the organisation they work within - with colleagues, suppliers and customers.
Greater organisational performance and agility - Colleague to colleague learning and development is one of the best ways to boost skills and performance as it often happens in the moment of need; no need to wait for a workshop or book onto a course in a month’s time. This means that learning and growth happens practically and quickly, which is needed more and more in today’s workplace.
Younger workers are looking for ways to learn fast, older workers are looking for ways to pass on their knowledge and deepen their self-worth in work, and organisations are looking for agile and cost-effective ways to drive performance – mentoring is vital in all of this.
About the Author
Becky Craig is a leadership development specialist and executive & career coach. She is the Founder of BluLake, which offers coaching to organisations and individuals across the UK.