Young-at-Hearts Make the Most Innovative Professionals
Ageism has become an interesting topic of conversations in our workplace. Especially in Silicon Valley. But while some tech executives would have you think that older workers are uninspired, a recent study led by Florian Kunze argues otherwise. He says companies shouldn’t seek out just the young to work for their businesses, but also the young at heart. BPS reports on an interesting new study where researchers surveyed over 15,000 employees from 107 companies to see how their subjective ages influenced performance in the workplace.
BPS writes that past research has provided sketchy evidence that a younger workforce is more likely to make big breakthroughs for the company. However, other research has found that, for some people, age ain’t nothing but a number. In one study, researchers found older adults who thought of themselves as younger had lower mortality rates than those who proclaimed feeling older than they actually were. What’s more, in another study researchers found that certain mental abilities tend to peak later on in life.
Kunze proposes that youth does have its advantages, but it’s all in their mindset — they’re focused, looking to get ahead, and attain new skill sets. So, Kunze put this idea to the test in a survey where they found workers who reported feeling substantially younger than their chronological age were more efficient and successful in completing goals set down by their managers.
Researchers admit they can’t find the causal link to prove what makes some workers feel so youthful in their work. But Kunze and his team did find there were more “young at heart” employees at certain organizations where workers were offered more age-related incentives. These kinds of thoughtful policies led workers to feel the work they were providing was meaningful.
Technology has continued to speed up, creating a gap between the old and the young. Mark Zuckerberg has made his own opinions on our most senior Americans quite apparent, when he said, “Young people are just smarter.” This statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
Read more at BPS.
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