A to Z of people skills – Years or Youth

January 14th, 2013

Now, here’s a thing. Even though age discrimination is supposed to be illegal, there are many people who feel this just isn’t the case in “the real world”.

There are many middle-aged and older people who feel they are being sidelined at work, whether it’s within a work environment or looking for a job. Business leaders don’t seem to want to pay for experience, skills and knowledge acquired over many years at work, saying that too much has changed and the people haven’t. There are also many younger people, struggling to get on, or up, the work ladder as they are seen as inexperienced with nothing to offer.

To me, one of the current business challenges is to nurture ways of bringing these extremes together.  We need to see experienced people being properly rewarded for taking responsbility and getting complex jobs done as well as sharing their experience and coaching others and for adapting to what IS changing. We also need to see younger people being properly rewarded for the expertise they bring in and for developing their skills alongside others, learning as they go, when they do.

We also need to identify those who aren’t succeeding – whether they are those with years of experience and not applying this or the new “upstarts”.

This isn’t a new phenomenon – there have always been new trainees and newly-qualified staff who have gone on to senior positions really quickly. And there also been a whole bunch of them who think that, as graduates, they already have the knowledge they need to succeed and don’t adapt to the world of work well – and they don’t all react well to this message.

Likewise, there are many experienced people who quietly lead and manage their business or department and continue to succeed. And there are also those who need help to adapt to what is new in the working world and learn from their younger colleagues – and they don’t all recognise this or react well to this message.

What challenges do you have with building a diverse team, including the challenge of youth vs years?

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