Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Research Finds that Employer Initiatives Can Reduce Stress in Older Workers

According to a Portland State University study, Older workers tend to feel more stress than younger workers when their employers don't provide them with the support and resources needed to do their jobs well. In "Do resources matter for employee stress? It depends on how old you are," published online in the April issue of Journal of Vocational Behavior, the authors--Lale M. Yaldiz, Donald M. Truxillo, Todd Bodner, and Leslie B. Hammer--found that both younger and older workers had lower levels of overall stress when they were given more autonomy on the job, had good relationships with their bosses and felt they were respected and treated fairly at work. But when such resources were lacking, older workers reported significantly higher stress levels a year later than their younger colleagues.
"These are things that employers should provide to all employees, but may be especially important for older employees," Truxillo said. "You don't want to have a company policy that says, 'We treat young people this way and old people that way,' but it does show you that age-sensitive human resource systems should be in place where you maybe train managers on how to be aware of the needs of their different workers."
Among other things, the study recommends:
  • Rather than require that employees complete tasks a certain way, employers should, when possible, give workers the flexibility to bring their different skill sets, strengths and years of accumulated job experience to the table
  • Training for supervisors should emphasize leadership skills about how to build strong relationships with workers of all ages so they feel like trusted and valued members of their team
  • Since older workers appear to be more susceptible to stress in the face of unfairness, organizations can help workers by being transparent about how decisions are made and implemented, not discriminating, valuing employee input when making key decisions and providing channels for employees to voice concerns.
Source: Portland State University Press Release (May 14, 2018)

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