What thoughts do you conjure up when you think about the term “mature workers”? Do you think ‘potential retirees’, ‘inefficient’, ‘old’, or even ‘past it’?

Or…..do you think ‘experience’, ‘knowledge’, ‘wisdom’, ‘business savvy’, ‘reliability’?

I know those of you reading this will certainly be thinking in the positive!

As mature workers, you can contribute to organisations through experience in such areas as problem solving, decision making, tolerance for change, mentoring younger workers, as well as transferring knowledge to your future successors.

During your career in the finance sector, you will have seen many changes across the industry in all areas. Statistics show that generally, mature workers are more adaptable to change as you have usually had more instances in your lives where you have had to deal with it, compared to younger workers who may not have yet experienced change as often.

Mentoring as a motivational, retention and development tool in the workplace has become very important and more and more companies are taking it on board to achieve higher retention and faster development within their organisations.

The benefits of mentoring are vast, particularly the value of being able to transfer the intellectual property that doesn’t sit in manuals or company textbooks, but is inside a person’s head. Mentoring is the key to unlock that knowledge.

Two years ago, I worked with a company in the finance sector running focus groups of mature workers looking to retire in the next 5-10 years to try and gain feedback from the people as to what the company should be doing to develop the younger generations and also capture the knowledge that would potentially walk out the door. The workers provided great feedback on areas they thought could be developed, but it was mentoring that came up over and over again of where they could make the greatest contribution. The company took on board the feedback and implemented a mentoring program that worked for them and their employees.

While there is much value in mature workers mentoring Gen X and Y workers to develop the next levels of leadership and succession, success in mentoring can only be achieved if a culture is fostered where the sharing of experience, knowledge and wisdom is encouraged. Also, there can be formal or informal mentoring programs developed, depending on the environment and the comfort level of the individuals involved.

As the fastest growing segment of our workforces and industries today, mature workers must be seen and heard if they are to be appreciated so they can maximise their full potential, those of the employees continuing to work through the hierarchies of the company, and the company itself.

“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because
someone else thought they could.”  – Unknown