More and more workers are staying on the job into what used to be considered their retirement years, due to a variety of factors, including advances in healthcare and the economic recession, which devastated many Baby Boomers’ retirement savings.1 We’re living longer and we’re working longer.

Older employees, defined by the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, range in age from 40 to 65. The U.S. Department of Labor defines older workers as those over 55, but regardless of how you define older employees, it’s usually more valuable to assess these vital, business assets based on the real-life experience they’ve gained from years on the job.

When you hire older workers, you not only get new hires to fill the job opening, you get all the experience that older workers have accumulated working for other businesses. Your company can be the beneficiary of on-the-job training that may have lasted for years.

You get experience, and much more, hiring people who know how work works.

The Myth of Age in the Workplace

AARP reports a number of myths regarding older workers – myths that make it difficult for senior employees to land jobs, and myths that cause businesses to lose out on years of experience.2

Many businesses believe that older workers:

  • are burned-out from years in the trenches
  • resist new technology or don’t know how to use it to full effect
  • are likely to take more sick days for health reasons
  • don’t work well with younger managers
  • are reluctant to travel on business
  • are less creative, less productive, slower mentally, and more expensive to keep on the payroll.

These outdated stereotypes, according to former AARP CEO Bill Novelli, are simply not true. “Every aspect of job performance gets better as we age,” he stated. “The juxtaposition between superior performance of older workers and the discrimination against them in the workplace just really makes no sense.”2

The Benefits of Hiring Experience

Older workers score high in leadership skills, detail-oriented work tasks, organization, listening, writing skills and problem solving – even in this tech-heavy work environment. Older workers understand the benefits of tech because they’ve seen it evolve and have adapted over the years to stay current.

Older workers can remain cool under pressure because pressure has been a companion throughout their careers. They tend to show more patience as work progresses, recognizing that the job will be finished properly and on time because it has before.

These older employees have learned workplace etiquette and how to get along with co-workers without all the drama and wasted time. They also recognize when it’s time to call for help. They realize that business success is usually a team effort, so they cooperate and collaborate for best results.

However, the biggest benefit older workers deliver is workplace wisdom – experience specific to your industry, your company, and your business success.

As a small business owner, you want the maximum benefit and productivity you can get from your staff. Older workers deliver experience – a valuable asset to any business growing to success.

 


1. www.cdc.gov/nationalhealthyworksite/docs/issue_brief_no_1_older_employees_in_the_workplace_7-12-2012_final508.pdf

2. www.aarp.org/work/job-hunting/info-07-2013/older-workers-more-valuable.html

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.