Older, more experienced employees bring plenty to the table in any workplace, but evaluating them can be difficult. Aging may influence the quality of employees’ work for the better or worse, and it’s crucial to keep evaluations of senior employees fair and objective. Here are some tips for evaluating an older employee in the workplace:

  • Use a standardized employee evaluation process: When it’s time for employee reviews, use the same set of criteria to evaluate all employees who perform similar job functions at the company. Age should not become a factor when you evaluate performance, and using a standardized template helps eliminate the bias that might occur when rating someone of equal age, someone older, or someone younger than yourself.
  • Outline the value that both older and younger workers bring to the table: While you should conduct the majority of an evaluation using the same basic scale, you may be able to draw some generalized conclusions about group dynamics as impacted by age. For instance, an older, more experienced worker may bring a more work-focused attitude to the table, while younger workers may prefer to find balance in everything they do. Identifying these differences can help managers and supervisors identify individual motivating factors.
  • Steer clear of stereotypes: One reason a hard and soft skill-rating template is so effective is that it encourages performance evaluators to leave stereotypes out of the equation. If you have a bias toward or against older workers, take that into account and leave it out of your evaluation as much as possible. Sometimes reading studies regarding the aging workforce and productivity or value and the influence it has on younger workers can help eliminate some existing stereotypes. In doing so, you eliminate potentially discriminatory behaviors during the review process.
  • Remember your role: Since many workers are staying in the workforce longer, you may find yourself supervising older employees. While an older employee may have certain age-related advantages, you are the one who makes decisions and can create a positive and collaborative work environment within a team of diverse ages.

Talking About Retirement

There may come a time when you need to discuss retirement with an aging worker. Some older employees may not want to give up their work, because it’s a strong part of their identity, but when it starts to influence their performance or their health, you may need to take action.

Talk with your Human Resources department and your company’s attorneys to determine the best, most tactful way to discuss retirement with an aging individual. There are many reasons that some people shy away from retirement, and understanding those reasons can help a company decide on the best course of action regarding older employees.

Whether you’re managing an older employee as a younger supervisor or a peer, the right performance evaluation approach and communication skills can help you navigate complex older employee and retirement issues. Learn more today about great performance reviews by downloading the Effective Performance Reviews eBook.