Article written by Nick Roud, Coach, Roud Career Coaching
WHY HIRE MORE GREY HAIRS?
There comes a point in our careers when we all get old. As someone who is entering his 50th year I feel more alive than I have ever been and it has nothing to do with my beard getting greyer or my age. But there is a feeling that as one ages the opportunities for our careers narrow. I am not sure that feeling is true. Many older professionals are delivering excellence and show no sign of hanging up the gloves.
Whilst organisations all around the world are grappling with and fighting for talent my guiding principle is, don’t underestimate the huge benefits to your organisation and people that grey hairs bring!
Many leaders are put off hiring grey hairs, they feel that they might outshine the leader, want his/her position, wont be able to ‘keep up’. This is further from the truth.
What are the benefits?
Wisdom comes to mind firstly. Grey hairs bring street smarts, they can bring the ability to quickly see advantages and or disadvantages, take little to no direction, work ethic is way beyond any others, attendance (they will show up), get stuck in and not worry that its not in their job description. They are not after your role, they wish only to contribute do a good job and go home. They have the ability to reverse mentor younger staff and help them develop. They have learnt and developed EQ and can be more tactile when communicating to others within the organisation. They have a healthy balance of home, friendship, work and life.
What are the disadvantages?
The reality is technology is fast becoming a go to for every sector and with that organisations need their people to be ‘up with the play’. The elephant in the room is not all grey hairs have had the necessary time to learn or be shown (other than from their grandkids who want to help) the use of technology. To turn that disadvantage into an benefit, organisations will need to invest in training and development, support and ensure any barriers are mitigated thus enabling grey hairs to feel confident with technology. When hiring grey hairs put the necessary time and effort into those fears and opportunities around technology.
I believe there are far more benefits than disadvantages to appointing grey hairs.
Are we looking at hiring differently?
For organisations to continue to evolve we shouldn’t avoid or rule out grey hairs. What we notice is the need to quickly fill a role with a similar person to the one who has left. Sure this may well work but for effective organisations the need to stop and look at what the organisation will need moving forwards, what personality will be required, what are the aspects of a role are non-negotiable etc should be thrashed out before going to market.
I’d encourage us all to really ensure we are not just hiring what we always have. It is up to leaders to ensure business is fit for purpose and that every single appointment has purpose behind it. If not do you really need to hire anyone?
Technology is adding to the way we look to hire, lots of new apps seem to appear daily. It’s got diluted very quickly and over the coming years even more so. So my question is how do you reach grey hairs if they are not on all these apps? Are you being very mindful of that!
Key take always
*Don’t underestimate the huge plus benefits that grey hairs bring to your team, organisation.
*Encourage technology learning
*Development junior staff with reverse mentoring
*Broaden your talent pipeline
*Different thinking to situations
The purpose for this article is to help shine a light on a group of talented professionals who I believe are being overlooked. Wisdom takes years to acquire, it doesn’t fall out of fashion. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes decades of daily effort. Just imagine what that wisdom will do for your organisation!