Age discrimination is a real problem, and older workers often have a more difficult time securing employment than younger workers.
Some companies fear that older workers command higher salaries and are therefore un-affordable, while others may believe that older employees have outdated knowledge that’s no longer applicable in today’s fast-paced world. Unfortunately, these myths prevent companies from taking advantage of the many benefits older workers have to offer.
Experience Can’t Be Learned
While it may be true that older workers sometimes don’t have the most up-to-date knowledge about emerging technologies, these things can be taught. What can’t be taught is the 20 to 30 years of on-the-job experience older workers have that younger employees lack.
Older Workers Know Exactly What They Want
Older job-seekers are often searching for work to fulfill a passion and not necessarily for the financial or health benefits. Some are looking for ways to fill up their time and earn some extra money, while others might be seeking to feed a passion. That’s why some older workers are drawn to jobs such as dog sitting.
Most importantly, they are more likely to take a job because it’s what they want to do, and they’re less likely to be on the lookout for the next big opportunity. In other words, when they accept a responsibility, they’re probably planning to stick around for a while.
Senior Employees Have Strong Leadership Skills
Leadership comes naturally for some, but it’s often a skill that is refined with time. Older workers, therefore, often make exceptional leaders – either officially or unofficially – in the workplace. Whether you have an older employee managing a team or your younger staff naturally look to your more experienced staff for guidance, odds are you’ll get a sense of the strong leadership traits most professionals develop through decades of work experience.
How to Support Your Older Workforce Members
One of the best ways to support older workers is to let them know that you recognize their value. Seniors often struggle to secure employment, which can leave even the most seasoned professional feeling outdated and undervalued.
One way to demonstrate your appreciation of the knowledge they bring to the table is to offer opportunities for them to share the knowledge they’ve gained through the years with the younger members of your workforce. New team member? Pair them up as a mentor and let your senior staffers show them the ropes. Let them lead a workshop on dealing with the unique personalities common to your industry, a skill many older workers have mastered through the years.
It’s also helpful to offer flexible work options. Sometimes, seniors are seeking part-time employment rather than a full-time commitment. If you can work out a flexible arrangement, it becomes mutually beneficial: you get to put your senior worker’s skills and expertise to use, while they get to work in a job they love without sacrificing the joy of more free time that comes with retirement.
Simply demonstrating how much you value their expertise can go a long way in cultivating loyalty and employee satisfaction.
And of course, satisfied, happy employees lead to satisfied, loyal customers.
The benefits of hiring older workers are many, but companies that place value on their senior workforce and show them they’re appreciated are giving them just as much in return.
For many retirees, there’s great joy in pursuing a career they truly enjoy and being able to continue to make a valuable contribution in the workforce.
Image via Pixabay by khsmiley
By the Same Author: Advice for Caregivers: How to Know if Your Senior Loved One is Depressed – By Jim Vogel
Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support. Their site offers elder-positive resources and other helpful information on aging. In his spare time, Jim loves fishing, reading, and spending time with his kids.