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Young love is wonderful. Young management? Not so much.

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Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

A few weeks ago, I interviewed for a writing assignment with a young and growing company, and for a while there things looked promising.

But by the end of the conversation, I knew I wasn’t going to be pursuing this work.

Here’s why:

  • The interviewer wanted me to provide an unpaid sample, when I have samples all over the internet and
  • Rather than giving me the topic and a deadline, the interviewer wanted me to let her know when I’d have time to write the sample (at which point she’d email me the topic) and then report back how long it took me to write the piece so that she could determine whether I write quickly enough to suit her business. Huh? When I questioned whether I was expected to write the piece in one sitting, the interviewer said no, as though that was a dumb question, leaving me completely confused as to the efficacy of the methodology. What’s the reason for not giving me a topic and a deadline again?

And maybe I’m wrong, but it occurred to me that this young lady simply had no idea how writers work or how to engage a writer, and those aren’t the kind of clients I want.

Age IS more than a number

Since the Millennials began storming the workplace, there’s been lots written about generational differences, and not surprisingly, a lot more about how none of that really matters. In some ways, maybe so.

But I believe it is downright foolish to discount the importance of the wisdom, knowledge, and experience that’s gained as one spends significant time in the workplace.

In other words, all other things being equal, a 27-year-old manager doesn’t have a thing on a 47-year-old manager. That 47-year-old manager has some chops that the young manager doesn’t. Period.

As I listened to this young interviewer, I found myself wishing that she or her superiors had consulted with someone who knew something about hiring writers before she contacted me. In short, the whole thing struck me as a loss all the way around.

What’s the take away?

Growth is exciting. With growth comes all kinds of opportunities to explore uncharted territory, and that’s fantastic.

However, as your young company grows don’t make the mistake of failing to tap into the experience of those who may have already “been there done that,” because the added knowledge will improve company processes and reduce waste from unnecessary error.

What every young, growing company needs

Growing companies need expert assistance, and fortunately, there are experts everywhere. As such, there’s absolutely no reason a thriving organization has to lose out on good talent because of faulty hiring practices, or for that matter, flawed retention strategies conceived by gifted but inexperienced leaders. And while being older doesn’t necessarily make one wiser, it does increase the odds.

So, regardless of how young and fabulous your company might be, mix it up a little. If not, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll begin to feel the lack of … ahem… maturity in key organizational processes such as the way your company manages talent, develops and executes strategy, and handles conflict.

Want to learn more about managing multigenerational employees? Watch this video recording of a recent PayScale webinar on the topic of Compensation Strategies for a Multigenerational workforce.

2 Comments

  1. 2 Crystal Spraggins 17 Apr

    Thanks Judy! Diversity works.

  2. 1 Judy Anne Cavey 16 Apr

    Absolutely loved this piece! There's enough evidence out there to prove many businesses are make terrible mistakes thinking those right out of college have all it takes, to be all they need.

    I read a study that showed a diverse workplace consisting of older workers mentoring younger workers, women in decision making positions, and other minorities equally treated when it comes to promotions is a healthy workplace = a thriving business.

     

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