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We Need You

I read an article this week celebrating "Rosies." Rosies were women who left their homes and went to work in the factories to support the war effort during WWII. Their contributions included making machines, weapons, uniforms, supplies, and other goods needed to support our troops during theaters in the Pacific, Europe, and Africa. My mother was a Rosie and moved to New York to make uniforms for the Navy while my father served in Europe. Many of these women are no longer with us and those alive are aged 90 or older. Their contributions helped to win the war and many remained in the workforce after the war ended. In the article I read, one of the Rosies finally retired at age 94 after her company closed. She said she was "laid off."


For the first time in history, the workplace has five generations employed together. This may never happen again, but the contributions of our senior staff are still needed. Some of our seniors do not possess the technical knowledge needed to operate our computers, write the applications, or manage the databases. However, they possess other skillsets necessary to improve efficiency in the workplace. Senior employees are dedicated, devoted to their work, dependable, timely, and know how to communicate well with others. They are thoughtful, resilient, and mentally strong, qualities often amiss in this current generation. Senior employees are needed for their wisdom, and understanding of the world - how it works and the people who make it grow. These attributes are priceless and cannot be replaced.


Leaders may be challenged to know what to do with the senior staff in their departments. They would like them to retire, but retirement is not always possible, even for those who have the age and years to do so. Many of our senior staff lost their pensions due to company impropriety. They may not have sufficient health care, or life insurance benefits. Many also take care of their grandchildren because their children are not mature enough for parenthood. Yet they come to the office faithfully and do what they can without any disrespect to their leaders. Most are not unreasonable in their personal requests and understand work ethic and professionalism. Rather than push our seniors out to pasture, companies should find ways to benefit from the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of older generations. There may be some language barriers, but you might be surprised how "hip" these golden globe citizens have become. They still have purpose, value, and in the right assignment can provide great advice to younger employees who need focus and direction.


If you have senior employees on your team, don't disregard them. Assess their true skillsets and look for opportunities to make them relevant and valuable to your organization. Unless they are unable to perform in their assigned positions, give them the respect they deserve, and allow them to retire gracefully. They earned it and we are privileged to have them with us.




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