Why focus on senior employees?
There are countless articles about Generation Y, Z, … about the values they share and the challenge to integrate them in our organizations. But little is said about senior employees and what could be put in place to address their particular needs and expectations so as to remain engaged and motivated up to the end of their careers. For many large organizations, the group of 50+ will more and more represent a significant part of their employees. Unfortunately, many of us have misconceptions about senior employees (slow, not able to change, not techy enough, etc.) and little is done to understand their specific needs and the ways to re-boost their motivation at work.
Why do I write about it?
Ok, I obviously feel concerned by this topic as I am myself in this category. And I don’t feel obsolete, I don’t want to stop working. On the contrary, I feel I am full of energy. Actually, I never felt so well and happy in my work. But many senior employees I meet do not feel like that. Some are wondering if they will have the energy to work 40 hours a week up to 67 years, some resent the lack of recognition for their expertise, other just do not adhere anymore to the motivational speeches of their organization ….
So, what can be done ? Many things, from structural actions (making part-time an option, organizing additional trainings, introducing job rotation, etc.) to people-centred actions (coaching, recognition, etc.). But I would like to share with you one experience that I consider particularly powerful and sustainable, called the « Career Legacy Circle ».
« Career Legacy Circle », what is it?
A « Career Legacy Circle » is a reflection oriented space created to bring together 6 to 12 people in the later stage of their active working life.
It is a journey that aims to develop two new bodies of knowledge: knowing how to remain motivated while staying and knowing how to leave feeling satisfied of one’s achievements. Typically, the process will involve individual readings and reflections and 7 half-a-day workshops spread over a period of 3 months.
The output is multiple:
- A way to transfer some specific know-how of senior employees to other employees. This transfer can create a new powerful sense for the senior employee and is also beneficial to the company to retain knowledge.
- An action plan for the senior employees to keep motivated in the workplace and to regain motivation for the remaining of their career life.
- Potentially also some proposals to the HR department on how to develop and adapt working conditions to senior employees.
The power of the group
Contrary to the structural approaches which are top down, this approach is a bottom-up one coming from the people. The dynamic of the group is essential as it fosters reflection, creativity, recognition, sharing common concerns. The role of the facilitator is to create a safe space and allow the emergence of motivation while creating a new powerful and personal sense for every participant. Sometimes, the group decides to gather after the journey and a community is created.
A journey towards an enriched career … and life
Some participants are a bit sceptical at the beginning. Typical questions arise like : « Why should I think about a legacy ? », « I don’t have any valid expertise ! », « My employer won’t do anything ». From the start reflecting in group on their career and current work, the participants discover the others have the same concerns. Gradually, from session to session, people gain confidence, find their added value, connect with their sustainable motivation, develop a new sense to their work.
The untapped treasure of senior employees
My personal experience with the circles is enriching and inspiring. The quality of discussions, the discoveries of hidden qualities, the creation of sense, all contribute to the emergence of renewed energy within the participants. I really feel that a lot of potential is wasted if senior employees are not given the opportunity to tap into their motivation and energy resources . Senior employees may become a group that actively contributes to the organization instead of a problem to cope with!
Would you like to know more about it ?
Feel free to participate to one of the presentations with testimonials on the following dates: 1st March 18 :00 and 2nd March 9 :00.
- Institute of Neurocognitivism
- Tervurenlaan, 81
- 1080 Brussels
Or contact me for more information.
Vincent De Waele
Note: if you would like to have a funny insight into the topic, I recommend “The Intern”