Countless seniors find themselves downsized or exorcised completely from business. This is deeply troubling for them from a personal point of view because lower income streams can lead to stress, health problems, foreclosures, and bankruptcy. However, by ignoring seniors in the employee pool, are leaders, HR recruiters, and companies as a whole missing out on a vital chunk in creating the perfect team?
The Benefits of Hiring Seniors
Traditionally, younger workers have been prized over seniors because they are more energetic, more tech savvy, more willing to give discretionary effort, are fitter, and can work for a company for the next 30 years or so. This has led to youth being prized over experience in the job market, making it increasingly difficult for seniors to get hired.
However, this forgets the benefits of having senior members on a team. These are often divided into skills, experience, and financial benefits:
Skills: Seniors have decades of training in certain skills. Technology may develop to replace some of these skills, but many are invaluable. These are skills honed during times when tech has changed. It is not like advancement stood still while they worked then suddenly sped up for the few months or years they were out of a job. Seniors tend to also possess better organizational and communication skills including being more detail oriented, better listeners, more focused, and attentive.
Experience: Seniors set an example, hopefully a good one, for younger employees to follow in terms of punctuality, attitude, and maturity. Furthermore, they have experienced highs and lows of business, triumphs and failures, so can turn back to older ideas which worked then and might work now. Experience also gives people confidence and efficiency, having learned before better ways of doing things, which they can pass on when mentoring younger employees.
Financial Benefits: It’s true to say that younger workers, fresh out of the block, are cheaper to hire purely in terms of wages, but in the U.S., seniors can be cheaper due to already having insurance plans from prior employers, having side incomes, or being willing to accept less in order to get the job. In fact, 68% of small businesses in the U.S. hire over 65s on a part-time basis because their medicare coverage lowers the business’ expenses significantly.
Building Balanced Teams
One assumption of recent decades has been that a balanced team means a balance of backgrounds and gender. Numerous articles have been written on these topics, but a good team from a business point of view is one which has a balance of skills, outlooks, experience, and ideas. Therefore, this does include seniors who can bring older ways of doing things, decades of vital experience, knowledge, and so on, as mentioned above. This balances nicely with the ideas and vigor of youth.
Leigh, a freelance writer and mother of two, decided to put pen to paper when her father’s health took a nosedive after being downsized in his late 50s.