The issue of post-retirement work, often called ‘bridge employment’ from the employee’s perspective because of its transitional function between a career job and full retirement has received growing attention from researchers of different social science disciplines. Due to the demographic phenomenon of population aging, the relative share of older workers in the labor market has been increasing and is projected to increase further in the future. Hence many governments have introduced policies to discourage early retirement and increase the labor force participation of older workers. Indeed, many older workers are now working longer than their previous generations, which are illustrated by higher employment rates among older workers and higher ages at full retirement, and this trend is projected to continue in upcoming decades. However, older workers may not always have the choice to postpone their retirement or combine retirement with employment; employers must also be willing to hire and employ older workers.
Older workers have gained requisite skill sets and experience that can be passed to future generations
Older generations are the future of the U.S. workforce. The reason being, they have been around in the workforce for a very long time and have gained expert knowledge by gathering adequate experience of learning how business works that can be passed out to future generations. It should also be noted that older workers make great mentors and help the younger generation to develop their skills professionally. With the help of the mentorship skills, it is possible for older workers to inculcate strong relationships amongst workers, which can lead to a more enjoyable culture and work environment thereby resulting in increased employee engagement.
Older workers are great conversationalists
While Millennials were born in the age of instant messaging and social media, older workers had one-to-one interaction with people which helped them develop soft skills. As a result, most of the older workers happen to be great conversationalists. They have gone through a lot in their lives and simply have more knowledge and experience than the younger generations. If you want engaging conversations between your workforce, hire older workers today!
Older workers are not apprehensive about speaking up and giving honest opinions
Older workers are always confident when it comes to voicing their unbiased opinion. They know what they bring to the table and their track record speaks for itself. When new ideas are accepted, older workers speak up and share their honest opinions by backing their invaluable experience in giving their honest opinions on whether the ideas can be effective or not. They are unfazed by the situation and always try to redirect the attention of their superiors towards the right thing thus ensuring that only the best of the ideas are taken into consideration by the organization.
Older workers stay in an organization for a longer period of time
It is a known fact amongst recruiters that Millennials have a tendency of job hopping every couple of years. But, as far as older workers are concerned it has been researched and found that on top of requisite skill sets and experience brought to the table by them, they also tend to be loyal. According to a research conducted by the United States Department of Labor, when an employee starts their career between the ages 18 to 24 years, there is a 69% chance that they’ll leave the job within a year and a 93% chance that they’ll leave within five years. On the other hand, when a worker begins a job between the age 40 to 48, there is a 32% chance that they’ll be gone within one year and a 69% chance that they’ll leave within five years. This shows that older workers are more likely to stick around in an organization for a longer period of time.
Older workers have a network full of contacts
Since older workers have gained a plethora of experience in different organizations, they have developed their own network of contacts. There is a high probability that an older worker in your organization can help you make a strategic connection with a person that can be highly beneficial for your business. It can be a college roommate or an ex-colleague who has now become a successful businessman owning a business that can assist your organization to reach the next level. Remember, when you hire an older worker, you hire their network along with them, which gives your organization an opportunity to grow.
Older workers are matured enough to tackle business problems calmly
As older workers gain experience in a particular industry, they learn a lot about tackling business problems in a very calm manner. This is not the case with the younger generation as they panic quite quickly and are always searching for quick-fix solutions to the problems.
Older workers take pride in a job well done
It has generally been observed that the younger generation is always working for the pay package. They limit their output to 9 to 6 shifts. But, in case of an older worker they take pride in completing a task given in a very perfect manner. They do not care about the shift hours or the extra effort being put in order to complete the task given. Basically, there is a sense of pride in them to deliver a high-quality final product which makes them one step ahead of the younger generation.
Older workers are always punctual for work
Older workers are always on time for the job and look forward to putting their best foot forward each day. They love being to arrive on time and be ready for work each day.
As the Baby Boomer generation ages, a large percentage of the workforce will consist of employees above the age of 60, so it is crucial that managers and executives know how to motivate and engage these older workers. In a Harvard Business Review blog post, Wharton professor Peter Cappelli charges companies to better engage these older workers. According to Cappelli, while three-quarters of those approaching retirement age would like to keep working, only a quarter of them actually do.
“Something is keeping them from working, and that something is on the employer side,” Cappelli writes.
As long as employers can toss aside these biases and worries, Cappelli believes that hiring an older worker can, in fact, benefit a company, as long as they keep in mind the following best practices:
Acknowledge and use their experience – You can’t ignore the fact that they may have more experience than you. Even if it’s just behind-the-scenes, ask them for advice before making decisions and tap into their wisdom.
Give them face time with customers – Since older workers often are not in it for the money, they tend to be working for the ability to interact with other people and engage with consumers. Play into that and give them tasks that involve customer interaction.
Team them up with younger employees – These workers are at such different life stages, so they view each other less as competitors and more as teammates. This leads to a more cohesive and productive team.
The bottom line is that companies looking to increase engagement, performance, and loyalty need to do a much better job of engaging this growing and valuable segment of the workforce. For employers who say they want a workforce that can ‘hit the ground running,’ that doesn’t need training or ramp-up time to figure out what to do, that will be conscientious, and that knows how to get along with others, older workers are the perfect match.