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Bridging the generation gap in the workplace

With more and more people working past traditional retirement age, employers across New Jersey may have to adapt to age diversity in the workforce. Many of these older workers are filling industrial jobs, so it's especially important to provide effective safety training.

For instance, employers can check in on their older employees and be flexible when age-related conditions make them no longer able to perform a given task. Companies could also introduce workers to new technologies in the context of safety training. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, only 18 percent of Americans 65 and older owned smartphones. Once older adults are familiarized with new technology, however, they tend to embrace it.

Employers should also remember that seniors often embrace different learning methods. Many older adults are used to rote, one-directional learning via lectures and PowerPoint presentations. On the other hand, younger adults may be more comfortable with short, interactive, microlearning-based presentations. Employers should thus incorporate different methods in their safety training. If possible, managers should also try to get to know every employee personally.

Tensions may also arise between older and younger adults based on personality. That's why it's crucial to bring all age groups together at the training stage. This will improve teamwork among employees.

Unfortunately, some employers may not have the time or resources to follow such guidelines. For workers, this could increase the risk of workplace accidents among older employees. In the event of a workplace injury, a victim may consult with a lawyer about filing a workers' compensation claim.

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