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Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order [Hardcover]

Peter Cappelli , Bill Novelli
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 10 2010
Your organization needs older workers more than ever: They transfer knowledge between generations, transmit your company's values to new hires, make excellent mentors for younger employees, and provide a "just in time" workforce for special projects.

Yet more of these workers are reporting to people younger than they are. This presents unfamiliar challenges that--if ignored--can prevent you from attracting, retaining, and engaging older employees.

In Managing the Older Worker, Peter Cappelli and William Novelli explain how companies and younger managers can maximize the value provided by older workers. The key? Recognize that boomers' needs differ from younger generations - and adapt your management practices accordingly. For instance:


· Lead with mission: As employees age, they become more altruistic. Emphasize the positive impact of older workers' efforts on the world around them.

· Forge social connections: Many older employees keep working to maintain social relationships. Offer tasks that require interaction with others.

· Provide different benefits: Tailor benefits--such as elder-care insurance programs or discount medication--to older workers' interests.

Drawing on research in management, psychology, and other disciplines, Managing the Older Worker reveals who your older workers are, what they want, and how to manage them for maximum value.

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Review

“In an eye-opening 2010 book called Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order (Harvard Business Review Press), Peter Cappelli and Bill Novelli write that many companies are reluctant to hire or retain older workers — even though evidence shows that “on virtually every dimension that is relevant to employers, older workers come out ahead of their younger colleagues.” — CFO magazine

“Powerful” - The Economist

About the Author

Peter Cappelli is Professor of Management at the Wharton School and Director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources. He authored Talent on Demand and The New Deal at Work. Bill Novelli is the former CEO of AARP, a membership organization of 36 million people age fifty and older. He is the author of 50+: Igniting a Revolution to Reinvent America.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
As is the case of almost every other important business book, this one is research-driven as indicated by the footnotes on Pages 161-179. In it, Peter Cappelli and Bill Novelli explain how to prepare for what they characterize as "the new organizational order." Indeed, Peter Drucker would suggest (and I agree) that much of that order is already in place and all of it will be soon.

Of special interest to me is a role reversal in the workplace that is without precedent. It creates unique challenges to which Cappelli and Novelli refer in this excerpt from their Preface: "To oversimplify, younger managers don't really know how to manage older workers - and older workers don't know how to get what they need from their younger managers." They recommend a different approach, o0ne they explain during the course of their rigorous and insightful examination of what they characterize as of a neglected dimension of diversity."

They address issues associated with business challenges such as these:

o The defining (and unique) characteristics of "the older worker phenomenon"
o Various myths about older workers...and what in fact is true
o The nature of "new business realities" that must be accommodated
o The case for older workers
o How to confront ageism effectively
o How to helper younger supervisors
o How to "craft a better deal" for older workers
o How to make an older workforce "work for you"

Here are three excerpts that are representative of the several dozen passages that caught my eye:

"It is certainly true that older individuals use more health care than their younger colleagues. On the other hand, most employers still offer health-care benefits to employees and their [begin italics] dependents [end italics].
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Improve Organizations and the Economy Sept. 17 2010
By JoAnn Becker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Written for top executives and HR professionals, Peter Cappelli and Bill Novelli have brought focus to the strongest force now occurring for why organizations are not employing experienced (i.e., older) talent - the younger supervisors are uncomfortable managing older workers. Their copious research explains:

1. How this illegal age bias in today's market is far greater than the discrimination that occurred when women and minorities entered the workforce
2. Dispels all of the myths for not employing the older worker (e.g., they do not cost more)
3. Explains why all surviving organizations will need to employ the older worker.

Finally, they provide many examples of organizations who "get it" and what they are doing, and explain four management practices to be incorporated in organizational cultures for productive workforces.

A must read for every leader and HR professional, but also for supervisors and managers (both young and old), and workers of all age groups. The authors have too much research (on white and blue collar jobs, and within and outside of the US) to be ignored.

Organizations like Achieving Results from Change assist organizations to align with their findings and recommendations.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide for the manager faced with today's growing population of aging people in the workplace Nov. 14 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Age doesn't mean a decline in quality if managed right. "Managing the Older Worker: How to prepare for the New Organizational Order" is a guide for the manager faced with today's growing population of aging people in the workplace as retirement plans are failing and people are returning to the workforce. With advice on how to use these employers to empower one's workplace, be leaders through experience, and will often work because it's what they want to do rather than what they must do. "Managing the Older Worker" is a complete and comprehensive guide for readers who want a more complete understanding of how to manage the useful and complex aging worker.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful and thorough examination of "a neglected dimension of diversity" Jan. 18 2012
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As is the case of almost every other important business book, this one is research-driven as indicated by the footnotes on Pages 161-179. In it, Peter Cappelli and Bill Novelli explain how to prepare for what they characterize as "the new organizational order." Indeed, Peter Drucker would suggest (and I agree) that much of that order is already in place and all of it will be soon.

Of special interest to me is a role reversal in the workplace that is without precedent. It creates unique challenges to which Cappelli and Novelli refer in this excerpt from their Preface: "To oversimplify, younger managers don't really know how to manage older workers - and older workers don't know how to get what they need from their younger managers." They recommend a different approach, o0ne they explain during the course of their rigorous and insightful examination of what they characterize as of a neglected dimension of diversity."

They address issues associated with business challenges such as these:

o The defining (and unique) characteristics of "the older worker phenomenon"
o Various myths about older workers...and what in fact is true
o The nature of "new business realities" that must be accommodated
o The case for older workers
o How to confront ageism effectively
o How to helper younger supervisors
o How to "craft a better deal" for older workers
o How to make an older workforce "work for you"

Here are three excerpts that are representative of the several dozen passages that caught my eye:

"It is certainly true that older individuals use more health care than their younger colleagues. On the other hand, most employers still offer health-care benefits to employees and their [begin italics] dependents [end italics]. The health-care costs of an employee, therefore, depend not just on their own health-care but on that of their family." (Page 40)

"Far and away the biggest concern about older workers, reported by 88 percent of respondents in one survey, was not in fact a problem with older workers themselves but a worry about conflicts in the workplace with younger workers. And the punch line is that despite the overall positive attitudes toward their older workers, one-quarter of employers reported that their organization was reluctant to hire any older workers." (Page 83)

"Much of the difficulty that older workers have getting hired and then functioning successfully in the workplace appears to center on the relationship with younger supervisors, at the point of hiring and then later when work is being done. The heart of the problem centers on leadership styles that are a particularly poor fit with older workers, an authority-driven approach to supervision. It obviously takes two to have a conflict, so why focus so much attention on the younger supervisor? One reason is that they are the ones initiating and defining the relationship. Even in participatory models of management, they ought to be the ones shaping the terms of the relationship. But we shouldn't let the older workers off the hook, either." (Pages 114-115)

My own take on all this can be summed up by three points: First, cross-generational collaboration in any organization will improve the process of answering questions, solving problems, and working together in countless other ways. That will require mutual respect and trust that can only be earned over time but must be protected every day. Also, older workers and their younger supervisors must accept the fact that "it isn't about them" and be willing to subordinate their preferences to what is best for everyone involved. Finally, perhaps (just perhaps) a multi-generational workforce whose members are -- in Cappelli and Novelli's words -- "coming together and working toward a common vision with shared goals" will encourage cross-generational interaction and cooperation (if not collaboration) in other segments of contemporary society.
5.0 out of 5 stars A very timely resource Jan. 3 2011
By Robert Selden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In a great new book "Managing the Older Worker", authors Cappelli and Novelli start out by debunking some of the common myths that abound about older workers. For example, myths such as "older workers will not stay as long" (their turnover rate is actually lower than younger workers); "older workers will have less physical and mental ability" (the authors show that knowledge and experience account for these), are just two.

I was particularly impressed with the business case the authors put for employing older workers. For employers, the authors' extensive analysis of various research studies, is well described to define just what an older worker can bring to the workplace and how organisations really do need them. For instance, the things that older workers have in abundance - interpersonal skills and highly tuned cognitive ability - have increased in need in the workplace over recent decades by 36% and 35% respectively.

This book is timely. The average age of workers is getting older. Employers and indeed as the authors point out, governments need to be aware of not only what the older worker can bring to the workplace, but also how to best manage this growing workforce segment.

The book is well written with sufficient scenarios and short cases to show just how the authors' suggestions have or are, working in practice.

It's hard to find fault with this book. If I had to find one, I'd say that there is so much good information here about the older worker, that it takes a while to get through it all.

However, if you are an HR, L&D person or someone charged with employing, deploying, developing and training your organisation's people, this book is a must read. Highly recommended.

Bob Selden, author What To Do When You Become The Boss: How new managers become successful managers
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