Inspiring Midlife Employees—The 16 “E’s”

To reinvigorate your workplace and inspire seasoned employees over age 40, here are sixteen positive leadership initiatives all beginning with the letter “e”:

1. Empower on-board seasoned employees. Grant qualified subordinates broad discretion in establishing priorities, expanding personal boundries, self-planning and managing their workday.

2. Exchange information. Create an information democracy.Share critical intelligence and strategy options with mature contributors so they become keenly aware of the big picture. Also, exchange seasoned employees between departments and functions so that no one becomes stale.

3. Elicit feedback. Routinely poll experienced veterans to obtain their perspective on industry issues and management options of today. Be open their advice and be willing to follow through.

4. Educate veteran employees. Provide in-house training on new methods and techniques. Provide both in-house training and reimbursement for continuing education so that veteran employees can compete on equal footing with younger “new technology” hires. Do not deny training to employees even one or two years from retirement. 

5. Encourage career development at mid-career and beyond. Remind long-time employees that they will continue to play a vital role in reshaping enterprise future.

6. Entice veteran employees to recommit to your collective mission by offering an inspired vision of enterprise future along with their potential for vital participation as key members of your team. 

7. Enlist active support for change from dedicated veteran employees. Appoint your best as “deputy agents of change.” Ask them to serve as vital links between past, present and future.

8. Enhance job assignments for employees young and old.

9. Employ the full range of employee potential. Challenge seasoned employees to uncover and utilize hidden talents.

10. Enfranchise old and new employees alike by dispersing decision rights  throughout the enterprise.

11. Elevate the performance of seasoned employees, routinely challenging them to new heights and rewarding them generously for accomplisment of individual and collective targets.

12. Eliminate age discrimination, office politics and similar workplace distractions. Also, strive to eliminate or at least minimize excessive overtime demands, workplace stress and burn-out.

13. Evaluate perfomance on a routine basis. All criticism should be accompanied by positive suggestions for improvement and instruction on how to do the job better. If still around, archaic “annual performance reviews” should never surprise.

14.  Expand incentive options so that every deserving contributor has a realistic opportunity for meaningful monetary reward.

15. Extend the careers of dedicated older employees by enriching their workday experience, positively challenging them to extend work-related boundaries and where merited, offering retirees optional career extensions as full or part-time paid consultants.

16. Engage employees nearing retirement right up until their final day on the job. Devise fun yet challenging temporary assignments. Honor soon-retirees for their many years of dedicated service well-in-advance of actual retirement date.

By consistently and effectively promoting the above “sixteen e’s” of seasoned employee motivation, your leadership team will be well on its way toward preserving and developing an asset most prized: the richly experienced and uniquely qualified collection of trained employees in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who drive your day-to-day operations. If properly motivated, they can become “new economy thinkers” and help move your company from good to great. As a leader, you will be richly rewarded for your attention, concern and creativity.

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