Employers, take notice!
You may be missing out on a game-changing talent pool...and you can thank me later for bringing this to your attention.
Allow me to share a recent experience.
Upon moving to a new area, I had the incredible good fortune to be seated next to a dynamic and engaging septuagenarian at a social event. As we chatted, she told me about an organization that she's been part of for many years.
As she described how the organization supports women, I realized its mission was closely aligned with my work. I wondered aloud to my new friend Liz whether there might be an opportunity for me to volunteer my career services insights to the group's clients.
Liz's enthusiasm was contagious, and she said she'd be happy to make the connection for me. Imagine my surprise and delight upon receiving an email from a staff member of the organization the very next day, inviting me to stop in for a meeting to discuss my potential involvement.
As I mentioned, Liz is engaging and dynamic...and before I knew it, I was not only a member of the organization, but also a co-chair of one of the group's major fundraiser events that brought in a great deal of money every year through its live auction, silent auction, raffle tickets, dinner, music, and more. I witnessed, first-hand, the flawless execution and attention to detail that has made this event a spring staple in the area's social calendar!
So what does this have to do with talent and hiring?
Well, it is with not even a teensy stretch of the imagination that I share that this was one of the finest teams I've had the privilege of working with!
Did I mention that I was one of the youngest volunteers...at 50-something?
The group of mostly retired women delivered an incredibly successful and lucrative event not in spite of their age, but BECAUSE of their age, acumen, and life experiences.
I witnessed exemplary teamwork, meticulous planning, grace under pressure, high-stakes decision making, best-in-class time and project management, effective budgeting, and sales and marketing skills that were second to none.
If they had a product to pitch on Shark Tank, I wouldn't be surprised if all of the sharks wanted in...they know talent and a sure bet when they see it!
So now I pose a question for your consideration, employers:
How might your organization be shortchanging itself by making assumptions about older workers, second-acters, on-rampers (women and men returning to paid employment after some time away), and other non-traditional candidates?