The Case for Grey Hair

COVID-19 has sent shockwaves across all industries and sectors with many companies launching redundancy programmes cutting back hiring plans. Much attention has been paid to the impact this will have on today’s school- and university-leavers, who will be competing for fewer jobs than ever before. The Government has offered implemented numerous measures and incentives such as the Kickstart Scheme aimed at promoting the hiring of younger workers in the 16-24 age bracket.

As research has suggested that many young workers could feel the aftereffects of the COVID period for the duration of their careers, any steps taken to avert a youth unemployment crisis should be applauded, However, the focus on young people alone ignores the future potential of other age groups and the benefits they can offer business.

Older workers (defined as 50+) are, by their very definition, experienced individuals with much to offer. In times of upheaval where leaders face new and innumerable challenges, their past experience could prove invaluable. Norman Broadbent is already seeing a rise in demand for our Interim executive services as businesses continue to grapple with rapidly evolving marketplaces and fresh challenges.

The average number of years of industry experience that a Norman Broadbent interim brings is 31 years, and, for many, most of that time was spent in a single or parallel industries bringing a wealth of understanding to any assignments they undertake. The correlation between their past experience and new assignments is evidenced by 87% of them undertaking work in the same or similar industry to where they spent their executive career.

More experienced workers have been shown to outperform all other age groups on measures of soft skills such as negotiation, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork. Interims are also able to adapt swiftly to fresh environments and enjoy working with and mentoring people. Interim executives harness these skills to not only support the businesses they work with, but also pass on their experiences and knowledge to the permanent business team, unlike consultancy services.

Post-COVID, there is likely to be an increase in start-ups as new ideas come to the fore. Many of these will experience high levels of staff turnover as they grow, establish their place in the market, and develop at pace. This is where experience is needed, particularly when organisational culture is developing, and the changing environment may prove unsettling to less experienced staff. Maturity and a lifetime’s worth of experience can often provide strong and stable leadership to young teams.

Interim executives can also be effective board advisors on everything from scaling a business and funding, through to stimulating ideas for growth. They also tend to be good in a crisis. Both interims and other older workers are often more willing to consider part time or flexible working arrangements, enabling businesses to harness the benefits of their knowledge and experience without the liabilities associated with employing somebody fulltime.

Experienced Interim Executives are outcome focused, objective individuals who are good communicators and listeners. They can be the difference between a good and efficient outcome, or a slow and inefficient solution. Access to experienced, immediately available professionals can add bandwidth to Senior Leadership Teams, help businesses tackle challenges or get ahead of the competition, and introduce new ways of working and ideas to your business.

If you’d like to learn more about The Norman Broadbent Group, or discuss how an Interim Executive could help you tackle your challenges, please contact our Group Managing Director, via angela.hickmore@normanbroadbent.com for an initial confidential discussion.