The middle-age career crisis

HR should pay special attention to 40-year-olds with 15 years’ tenure
By Daphne Woolf
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/24/2008

At some point in their careers, all employees will struggle with their level of engagement on the job. While external factors such as mergers, corporate reorganization or missed promotions can have widely differing impacts on individuals, it’s possible to manage these circumstances both before and after the event. The tricky factor in employee engagement is the personal stuff.

It’s not just the individual’s spouse, kids, home and health that affect employee engagement. Resilience to change, sense of humour, the ability to handle pressure and long-term expectations all have a huge impact on an employee’s enthusiasm and productivity at work. These and other qualities are elusive, and often subtle, and must be addressed to keep employees engaged.

With most employees it’s tough to predict the moment when personal issues will start to seriously interfere with engagement — let alone finding a solution. With one particular demographic, however, employers can safely and consistently predict the crisis: 40-year-olds with 15 years’ experience working for the same company. Addressing their particular circumstances can make the difference between having a maximally effective workforce or not.