Managing the Older Marthas and Melvins

Older Workers WEB

Older workers are a large and fast-growing part of the working population. Contrary to popular belief in America, and some other countries, at the age of 50 one’s brains do not fall out of your head, you do not automatically begin to drool, and you are still able to remember the way home after work. Unfortunately, some ageing Marthas and Melvins out there have given these workers a bad rap.

Some workers nearing retirement decide they will just coast their last two years or so at a company. The truth of the matter is probably that these folks were lousy employees all along and you didn’t have the nerve to fire them and now, as they near the grazing field of retirement, they have become sacred cows. Another case is that they feel useless and unappreciated and are just keeping a low profile. The scenario looks like this:

  • They do the minimal amount of work to get by
  • These scared cows are often popular with their co-workers
  • Firing them could result in a grand mess of legal problems
  • You may be years younger and fear challenging them
  • They are not motivated by promotion or money
  • They are not afraid of being fired

This may sound like a hopeless situation and you may feel that you are at the end of your rope when attempting to motivate your older charges who have fallen into this end of career abyss. Here are some ideas to consider to help get older workers involved and back in the game.