Example of working with diversity, HR Management

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Some young to middle-aged managers have reported certain problems with older workers. A 40-year-old group manager at a major bank reported feeling uncomfortable when older people in his group spoke up; it was as if his parents were telling him what to do. Some managers perceive older workers as rigid, hard to retrain, and too expensive. Numerous studies, however, report just the opposite. In training, studies show older workers may take a little longer to train, but once trained, they perform just as well as younger workers. In addition, they are usually less likely to be absent or change jobs and have a stronger work ethic than younger workers. Some companies have found that early retirement and other programs that significantly reduced the number of older workers have resulted in major losses of tradition, sense of history, work experience and maturity in the workforce. At B&Q, a British hardware store, older workers have proved to be more reliable, better at customer service, 39% less absent, better at taking care of inventory stock, and good examples for younger workers.

Older workers can provide just the right balance for a group of primarily young white males. Older workers may not be trying to climb the corporate ladder and can help the group analyse problems with an experienced eye and with no political posturing or individualistic personal competition. So rather than move them out when the hair gets a little grey, maybe we should populate our work groups with more older workers and expect productivity to increase and decision quality to rise.


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