People Management: Are talent programmes ageist?

Seb O’Connell, Cielo’s Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Europe, contributed to a recent piece in the UK publication People Management. The article, “Are talent programmes ageist?” focuses on the unfortunate use of terms that exclude tenured employees from the talent equation and how HR leaders can remedy this.

Excerpts from the article:

“Most organisations operate some sort of programme aimed at identifying future leaders and fast-tracking them to success. Though older employees can be included in such initiatives, the very concept lends itself to those who have recently joined the organisation or sector, and who exhibit the ambition and willingness to advance quickly. Few would disagree that older employees are chronically under-represented on talent programmes generally, and a case could be made that they have become inherently ageist.”

“Forging better inter-generational connections in the workplace is another way of helping to utilise the talent of older workers. Two-way mentoring (with younger employees teaching older colleagues about social media, for example) is on the rise, and Seb O’Connell, executive vice-president and managing director for Europe at talent specialist Cielo, cites a recent study which showed that older workers who are allowed to share their ‘life skills’ with their younger colleagues feel more valued personally and add value to their employers.”

“O’Connell believes that organisations should view ‘talent’ as a much more inclusive concept, “not just in age terms, but more generally” – but he senses the beginning of a sea change, albeit one driven by demographics.”

Seb’s contributions to the piece encourage a more collaborative style of leadership development, where younger employees mentor older employees on new technologies and social strategies, while older employees mentor their younger colleagues on leadership and business/life skills. This approach ensures that talent is seen as universal, rather than restricted to one age group. Read the full article: “Are talent programmes ageist?