How to manage older employees

According to the article “5 tips for managing older employees” by contributor Mary Shacklett on www.techrepublic.com, older workers who have sometimes had their own companies or held senior positions don’t want to have those responsibilities anymore, so they step down and begin working back on the lower tiers. As a result, they may end up working for someone younger than they are, despite the fact that they have more experience. This relationship can create an awkward situation, but Shacklett provides five tips to help diffuse the awkwardness of managing older employees:

  • Understand their motivations. As a younger manager, you’re probably still working on climbing the career ladder. Older employees, however, may have already done that or climbed as far as they want to. Now, they may just want to contribute to work, and they won’t care so much about promotions.
  • Know that experience matters. Older employees have vast amounts of experience, so a problem that may be causing you grief for hours or days may take them only minutes to figure out because they’ve seen it before. You should value their insight.
  • Use older workers as mentors. While some older employees simply want to be left alone to work, others want to share their knowledge with the younger generations. As a manager, take advantage of this opportunity when it presents itself and assign older employees to be mentors to younger ones.
  • Don’t treat them as subordinates. Although you are the manager with the higher authoritative power, when it comes to making decisions, you will earn older employees’ respect more quickly if you consult them on decision matters. Both you and they are likely aware that they are more knowledgeable in certain areas than you are, so while the final decision may rest with you, consulting with them and treating them as equals and not subordinates pays homage to their experience but also allows them to respect your role as a manager.
  • Embrace your managerial status. Older employees have already likely been in your position and are not looking to repeat the experience or question your authority. They may be quite happy to be able to hand off problems to you to solve. That said, don’t engage in methodology “ego challenges” with them because you are unlikely to win.

Read the full article here.

How to keep profits up during a change project

According to the article “6 tips on building profitability during change management” by contributor Clive Hyman on www.smeweb.com, making a change in your business is a tricky process because often, these changes are made in order to cut costs. But, Hyman warns, just cost-cutting and not increasing revenue can be dangerous. As such, Hyman offers six ways to keep profits up during a change project:

  • Choose performance indicators. Your change project should be all about increasing revenues/profits, not just cutting costs. Therefore, set reasonable performance indicators.
  • Get everyone on the same page. All your employees should be aiming for a better future and working in the best interests of the company and not just their individual positions. You may consider what Hyman calls taking a “strategy away-day,” where you can communicate the new vision to the entire team so that everyone understands how their roles will contribute to the change. Your employees also need to support this change, and this understanding will help them do so. While these sorts of days have a cost, the benefits they bring will more than compensate, Hyman says.
  • Keep incentives in the interest of the business. While incentives can get employees to focus on the actions needed to implement the desired changes, make sure the incentive plan keeps employees cooperating instead of competing so that everyone keeps working in the same direction and all customers remain satisfied.
  • See if you need to hire help. For some changes, you may need to hire outside help. While you certainly want to keep costs down, trying to cut them too low may end up being more expensive in the end. Remember to factor in your own time that you lose by working on a project without help, and weigh all the costs and benefits of hiring someone.
  • Keep your customers in mind. Often, when companies are in the midst of change, they may not realize how that change could affect or is affecting customers. If you focus only on the “big-picture,” you may lose touch with your customer base and thus your profitability.
  • Keep work fun. If work is more fun, employees are more willing to take the extra step to get things done.

Read the original article here.