We are at our last stop in the office to visit the Traditionalists. The Traditionalists are 65 and older and are staying or reentering the workforce for longer than preceding generations. Your Traditionalist (or Veteran) coworkers value hard work, loyalty, structure and authority, history, and personal interactions. Their fierce loyalty to their employer is seen in the workplace, as many of them have stayed with the same employer all of their career.
Traditionalist workers are at a stage in their life that they are reflecting on their impact in the workplace and feel they have earned leisure and social time for their dedication to their field and work. These workers have an enormous amount of knowledge and skill that are imperative to the operation of the office and it is important that this knowledge is transferred to other workers to ensure the history of the organization is not lost as they leave for retirement.
Traditionalists are very predictable and provide stability; however, change within an organization does not sit well with these experienced workers. Technology is also more difficult for Traditionalists to utilize and with more technology being used in the workplace it is a great opportunity for younger workers to have a reciprocal mentorship with veteran workers to teach technology and for the older worker to teach history and share experiences. Research shows that Generation Y and Traditionalists are good mentoring matches, however ironic that may seem due to the apparent differences in workplace values and characteristics.
Don’t sign off Veteran workers as they approach retirement, but engage them in the workplace as contributing members of the work team. Their experiences and knowledge are imperative to creating solutions to workplace challenges and mentoring the leaders that will replace them, as they get to enjoy the personal time they have been waiting for since they entered the workforce.