June 6, 2022, 0 Comments
Appreciating Senior Workers as an Asset
“Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it.” – Stephen Hawking
Do you view employee longevity as an asset? As most companies face staffing shortages due to The Great Resignation, have you revised your recruiting strategy to include attracting and retaining older workers? So many companies have a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) plan, but it may not include hiring people over the age of 50. If it doesn’t, it should. One reason is that you don’t want to be called out for age bias. Second and more importantly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 25% of the U.S. workforce is currently over the age of 55. The number of people ages 65 and older who are still working is expected to rise to 29 percent by 2060.
Outdated assumptions about older workers persist but did you know that senior employees add value to your business? According to Josh Bersin, a global industry analyst, and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, chief innovation officer at Manpower, “people over the age of 40 are more entrepreneurial, patient, have collaborative natures, and they’ve moved beyond a phase of having to “prove myself.” In their article published in the Harvard Business Review, they note that even though there is an entire media and publishing industry that glorifies youth, the scientific evidence on this issue shows differently:
- On average, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise – the main predictors of job performance – keep increasing even beyond the age of 80.
- There is also ample evidence to assume that traits like drive and curiosity are catalysts for new skill acquisition, even during late adulthood. That means that there is no age limit to learning things.
- Older workers can bring cognitive diversity to the workforce to help maximize team output.
In an opinion piece published by the Boston Globe, Tim Driver – president of the Age-Friendly Institute and founder of retirementjobs.com, Jody Shue – executive director of the Age-Friendly Institute, and Alice Bonner – director of the Age-Friendly Institute state a convincing case on “why employers should recruit and retain older workers.” The article explains that “smarter organizations view their employees’ longevity as an asset: their experience, lower turnover rates, ability to foster higher customer satisfaction, and diverse perspectives are among the crucial contributions older workers offer.”
Why Hire and Retain Workers 50+
Kerry Hannon, author of Never Too Old to Get Rich, provides the business case for seeing the benefits of hiring senior workers: “The truth is experience, put simply, gives you an edge.” In an article published by Forbes, Hannon offers 10 reasons to hire and retain workers 50+, including:
- Loyalty and stability, attitude, productivity, and mojo
- Decision-making skills, leadership skills, essential skills, and networks
- Cognitive capacity and collaborative
“When it comes to hiring, smart employers know that it’s not about age…An innovative company wants talented people, period,” commented Hannon. And with talented employees, companies win.
But considering that one-third of available workers are 55 years of age or older, there is an economic impact, as well. As the workforce ages, so will the global economy. Many people do not have enough money in their retirement accounts, which means they need to work and want to work longer. They enjoy the mental and physical stimulus going into an office provides and like to provide value to their companies and community. If your company is struggling with unfilled jobs, it is unable to meet the demands of customers, thereby creating ongoing supply chain challenges and affecting your profits.
Driver, Bonner, and Shue note that “postponed retirements are similarly beneficial to the economy as a whole: increasing GDP, providing skilled and less-skilled labor in a tight labor market, and reducing public health costs because people are active and engaged. By working longer, older adults are more likely to remain physically and mentally active, are better able to support themselves financially, and stay four times more socially engaged (vital to good health).”
How Can Organizations Appeal to Older Workers?
Bersin and Chamorro-Premuzic offer these suggestions:
- Give older people titles and roles
- Offer accommodations for flexible work such as more accessible workstations, the ability to perform tasks while seated rather than on their feet all day, and a varied schedule
- Look at pay equity by job and level, not tenure
- Bring age diversity into your DEI programs
- Give older workers managerial roles, supervisor roles, and mentor roles
- Coach and teach recruiters not to discriminate by age
- Teach younger leaders about reverse mentoring
With a strategy in place, retaining your senior workers can be as easy as letting them know you want them to stay and/or offering phased retirements, reconsidering training and education opportunities, and incorporating the advice above. To attract senior workers, find organizations, programs, networking groups, and job boards targeted to the 50+ people in your community.
It’s time to rethink any antiquated points of view regarding senior workers and shift to a more well-rounded talent acquisition strategy. What else do you need to convince you to develop a plan for retaining and bringing back senior workers to your workplace? Let Arlington Resources help you pursue talented HR professionals with years of deep-rooted knowledge, confidence, practicality, loyalty, and stability.