Jan 02, 2020

Why Should You Hire Older Workers?

Before you start looking for your next new hire, take a moment to envision who you are looking for and what needs you are meeting in your business.

Are you looking for someone to bring expertise? Someone with experience in your industry? Are you hoping that this new hire will come with a network of other professionals? What about someone with experience working with others, mentoring colleagues, and problem-solving? Even better, what about being able to hire someone who won’t need extensive training to hit the ground running in their new position? Do you need a full-time employee? Or would part-time or on an as-needed basis be better?

If your ideal new hire fits this description, then make sure you don’t discount the idea of hiring from the 55+ pool. When looking to fill a need in your business, older workers offer a myriad of reasons to consider bringing them on board.

What Can an Older Employee Offer our Business?

Older workers have had time to learn the ins and outs of their field. All the education in the world can’t replace the experience of working in an industry for years, living through the evolution of technology, policy, and cultural changes of the past decades.

A side benefit to all this knowledge means that your new hire should require less time training and start contributing to your bottom line sooner. For fledgling small businesses, this readiness could mean the difference between staying in business or not.

Not only are older employees likely to have extensive experience in their field, but they are practiced in the art of being an employee. They know how to follow or create procedures and systems. Older employees have practiced relating to managers, subordinates, and colleagues. An experienced worker can help your company navigate the fine line between business and interpersonal relationships. Take advantage of the older employee who is looking to pass on their knowledge to a new generation by having them mentor you or your employees. 

All of this experience can also bring with it an extensive list of professional contacts and relationships. Perhaps your new employee has already done business with your newest client, or perhaps they know an up-and-coming talent who used to work elsewhere in the industry. These contacts and relationships are priceless, particularly for new and small businesses.

What Can You Offer an Older Employee?

With the fact that 10,000 baby-boomers are estimated to retire every day, how many are even interested in looking for new jobs at this stage of their lives? Probably more than you think.

The baby boomer generation is living longer than ever, with many working or planning to work well into their 70s or later. Some may be worried about stretching their retirement savings to last longer than planned or dealing with unexpected expenses or the loss of expected pensions or other retirement plans.

While some may be looking for full-time work, you may also come across those who are actively looking for part-time or contract work. They may have discovered that after a few months of being at leisure, they miss the feeling of productivity and social interaction that working affords. Perhaps one partner retired before the other and wants to fill some of the day while the other spouse is still at work. As our population ages, loneliness and social isolation are going to be an increasing concern. Part-time employment can combat the isolation of retirement and aging.

The allure of being able to travel whenever and wherever they please and choosing their schedules may fit perfectly with a business that needs occasional or seasonal help. A retired accountant may find that the short window of tax season is just enough work to balance the rest of the year out on the golf course.

All of these situations are a goldmine of opportunity for the savvy business owner. Wouldn’t we all like to have the knowledge of decades at a successful company at our beck and call without the price tag? Retired C-level or other employees with managerial experience can give you just that when hired on an as-needed basis. Utilizing the knowledge of others could help you avoid one of the many reasons new businesses fail.

If your business hasn’t grown to the point you need a full-time accounting, HR, or marketing department but you don’t have the skills to do it all yourself, hiring a retired part-time employee or contractor could be ideal. Not only is your business going to benefit from the experience of staff you wouldn’t be able to afford full-time, but you have someone to write the perfect job description when you’re ready to hire a full-time employee. They can even help with finding the right person and training them. 

When planning for your next hire, bringing an older employee onto your team may have more advantages than you think.

About the author

Robynne Edwards
Robynne Edwards
A native of sunny Southern California, Robynne now lives in the Pacific Northwest, writing and learning how to drive in the rain. She has been writing and editing since her college days at Oklahoma City University’s The Campus newspaper. When not at work, you can find her exploring her new home, experimenting in the kitchen, or curled up with a good book.

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