A lot of our daily actions and decisions are subconsciously based on stereotypes, and it is no surprise. There are not so many people around who take courage not only to admit it, but also break the cliches and start working their own way around. In this post, we are going to bust the stereotypes about how age influences employee productivity and their work in general.
It is especially important nowadays when the competitive surroundings make it hard for employers to find the right people to work in their companies. Typically, the preference is given to young candidates, as they are believed to be able to learn quickly, work faster and generate new ideas, whereas job candidates who are over 40 are often rejected.
However, if you do want to build a strong team, it is important to base your search for the new hires on the proven data rather than stereotypes. Let’s take a look at the most common ones and see what are the facts.
1. Older employees’ education is “out of date”
Employers tend to believe that younger employees' knowledge is more “fresh”. They know the latest tendencies and trends while older workers use old fashioned methods and are unlikely to become good assets.
In fact, judging by the age is wrong here, since the level of knowledge depends only on the person’s desire to obtain it. Moreover, employees who are older, have gained valuable experience in their sphere, which, if paired with ceaseless education makes up an excellent combination.
2. Younger employees are more productive
This stereotype may be true when speaking about physical activity requiring strength and vigilance. But when it comes to intellectual work, faster doesn’t mean better or more effective.
On the contrary, according to the research by Burtless, G. ‘The impact of population aging and delayed retirement on workforce productivity’, the more educated and experienced a worker is, the higher productivity s/he demonstrates.
So, it looks like older employees should be given preference here, as they possess more experience.
3. Younger employees’ intellectual abilities are superior
To an extent, it is true, since abstract thinking abilities reach their peak before a person reaches middle age, as pointed out by Kanfer, L., & Ackerman, P.L. in ‘Aging, adult development and work motivation’ research. However, they also state that “crystallized intellectual abilities which include occupational and avocation (culture, art, sports, music etc.) knowledge is at its highest past middle age.
4. Younger employees are more dedicated to pursuing the goals
This is a frequent stereotype, based on the absence of family to care for in the life of young employees. Therefore, they can totally devote their time to work and achieving their goals. The research data, however, proves the situation is opposite. Kanfer & Ackerman research suggests the rise of “generativity motives” after middle age, which pertain to parenting and caring for others etc. They also focus attention on achieving goals thanks to collaborative efforts and processes, thus, older employees are more prone to collaboration for the sake of pursuing the set goals, rather than competition.
5. Younger employees are better focused
Taking its start from the same stereotype as the previous point, workers who haven’t reached their middle age are thought to be able to concentrate on their work better. However, they also have a lot more distractions when working on the computer, like Internet surfing and social networks. Older employees aren’t as obsessed with Internet, and can focus on their direct duties.
6. Older employees are prone to negativity
It is common to connect positive attitude with youth. However, as research shows, employees past their middle age, can control their emotions more effectively, so they aren’t as affected by negative situations as their younger colleagues. Moreover, due to their experience and professional skills, they manage to avoid situations with negative consequences.
Doing your own research with the time tracker
No matter who dominates among your staff members – older or younger employees, if you want to increase their productivity and ensure everyone’s working as they should, time tracker software is the tool that will help.
It monitors all activity on the computers of your employees, so you’ll know for sure when they start and finish work, which websites and software they use and for how long, when they take breaks etc.
This lets effectively deal with social network addiction of your team members, as well as help them improve their time management skills. The comprehensive daily reports significantly save your time and help to stay aware of what’s going on in the company.
Moreover, using a time tracker service, you get a chance to evaluate the productivity of your individual employees as well as whole departments. Then, you can create your own statistics as to whose work efficiency is higher – younger or older employees.
So, if you would like to try how effective time tracker software will be for your business, sign up for Yaware.TimeTracker now. Spend seconds to register and get 14 days of its full potential for free.