‘Upsetting the Natural Order’: Managing Employees Old Enough to Be Your Parents

Source: Knowledge@Wharton, September 01, 2010

In a new book titled, Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order, Cappelli and Bill Novelli, former CEO of AARP, analyze this phenomenon from the employer’s perspective. The authors lay out the business case for keeping and hiring older employees, offering suggestions as to how a multigenerational workforce can be managed in ways that benefit all three constituents — the companies, the older employees and their younger supervisors. As Cappelli notes: “The goal of our book is to point out the opportunities that hiring older workers provide, and to examine why these opportunities are not being taken up.”

In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Cappelli talks about the benefits of a rapidly expanding older workforce, the strategies some companies use to get value out of older workers and the reasons he and Novelli decided to write this book, among other topics. In the accompanying video, he describes in more detail how younger managers can work more effectively with older employees, and offers examples of companies that have managed the process well and those that haven’t.

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