What can Older Workers offer your company? A lot.

by Teresa Fausey

In last week’s post, I looked at some of the “reasons” employers may have for not hiring older workers. Turns out that most of them are based on mistaken assumptions.
This week, I’m going to talk about some of the pluses older workers bring to their jobs and their employers. There are several:
1.   Older workers are more loyal to their employers: According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers between 55 and 64 years of age have been with their current employers a median of 9.3 years, while longevity for workers between 25 and 34 years of age is only 2.9 years. 

 When talented and experienced people choose to stick around for nearly ten years instead of three, employers benefit. There are, after all, costs that come with turnover -lost productivity and disruption in the workplace, as well as the cost of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and training replacements. That makes the basic fact of worker loyalty a big plus.

2. Older workers who have been with your company for some time know a lot: They’ve not only gained considerable professional experience and expertise; they also have a ton of “organizational wisdom.” They know your organization—your cultural idiosyncrasies, individual personality quirks, informal channels. In short, they know how things at your company really work and how to get things done.

3. Studies show that older workers tend to have better interpersonal skills than younger workers. Probably developed through a variety of life experiences that go beyond the workplace: building and maintaining long-time relationships with family, friends, spouses, and children; dealing with adversity; overcoming fear; and meeting unexpected challenges.

4. Older workers are more tech savvy than you may think. In fact, 28 million people over the age of 45 are on Facebook, nearly half of people over age 55 have a smartphone, and face it, computer usage must be nearly 100% for people who have been in the workplace during the past 20 years.

5. Studies also indicate that most older workers are not only willing, but anxious to learn new skills. People who want to stay active are eager to keep learning. They understand the benefits—both economic and personal.

6. Older workers are more likely to know themselves—what they want personally and professionally, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. They also know that not everything happens when, or even if, you want it to. They’re more patient with other people and with circumstances beyond their control. They’re more stable and dependable. As it turns out, older workers are more mature. Hmmmm.

7. Older workers make great mentors and advisors, and many are interested in filling those roles: In fact, many companies are already recruiting older -even retired - workers as consultants and mentors.

Your organization should look to add younger workers who will bring energy, excitement, fresh ideas, and an eagerness to try new things. That’s how innovation and change happen. But in every organization, a balance of the exuberance of youth and the experience of age is a good combination to shoot for.

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