The average age of retirement in America is just under 60, but it is now becoming common practice for more American workers to stay in employment well into their 70s. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that workers in employment beyond their retirement age will become the fastest growing segment of the labor force, with a participation rate of 32 percent amongst 65-74-year-olds by 2022. The employment landscape is ever evolving, thanks to the rise of the freelancers, the inclusion of Gen Z in workplaces, and now, growing numbers of older employees choosing to work longer. Yet, many companies remain doubtful about the actual value that a senior employee can add to their company, and many of them are asking the same question: what benefit can I derive from hiring a retired or older employee?
They Bring The Experience Factor That Can Give You A Competitive Edge
Retired workers bring a wealth of experience with them, and if utilized correctly, can add value to your business operations and set it apart from the others. If you are after an employee who will get involved right from the start and be full of problem-solving ideas, then you want a senior employee. This is because, thanks to that experience, those employees have dealt with many situations, and have developed their own little tips for dealing with them and finding solutions.
Use the experience that they wield as a tool; they will know the ins and out of the industry, can provide invaluable advice to younger employees just starting out, and set a great tone in the business when it comes to work ethic. The Society For Human Resource Management’s survey in 2014 listed a strong work ethic and professionalism as some of the top traits in older workers. Keep in mind that the term ‘retired employee’ does not necessarily apply to those over the age of 65 anymore. Many workers have prepared and chosen to retire early, and they may have changed their minds in later years, or find themselves starting a second career post-retirement. This means they could still have many valuable working years left, which only benefits your company.
Employee Loyalty Is More Likely With An Older Employee
Older workers are also more likely to be satisfied in the job and remain loyal to your business, which means lower employee turnover for you, and lower rehiring and training costs. This has to partly do with the difference in stages of their lives that younger and older workers are at. Most senior or retired workers are not in the midst of raising a family, buying their dream (or first) family home, or repaying student loans fresh out of college. Their motivation for job satisfaction encompasses more than getting the best salary possible, and they are not pressured to perfect the juggling act of work/family/life that most younger employees find themselves dealing with. As a result, they are able to focus better at work, and are less likely to leave for a competing job simply because of a higher salary.
They Are A Great Tool To Trim Your Budget
With experience comes the ability to spot unnecessary spending or ways to improve the operations in your business. While one of the key arguments against hiring senior workers is the added cost (think increased health insurance premiums and training), they also have spent time honing their skills, and can act as a mentor to younger employees in your organization. Thanks to the experiences they have had, their judgment can be more reliable, and their productivity can be seen from the start. They have lived and worked through changing conditions for decades, and have no doubt made mistakes of their own which have taught them valuable lessons.
They Bring A Built-In Network With Them
The years a senior employee has spent building a career and making contacts through their old jobs can work in your business’ favor. Whether it is building your brand or establishing a good chain of supply, an older employee can open many of the right doors and introduce your company to the right people. For businesses in the early stages, this can prove to be invaluable. Getting noticed and building the right relationships with the best in the industry is a great way to boost your brand’s visibility, profits and create a seamless business operation.
Hiring older employees is just the beginning of the process. A business must be prepared to make the effort to retain them and their expertise. For this to happen, research has shown that older workers value flexibility in their jobs. Perks and work benefits such as paid time off rank lower to these employees than having the luxury to set their own hours, or at least having a say in the matter. The knowledge and other invaluable benefits that such an employee can add to your business are often overlooked, but they shouldn’t be. After all, we can use the past to improve our future, and older employees are key to that.