How Much Are You Acknowledging Older Workers?
We’re all encouraging seniors to stay both physically and mentally fit. Just check out a holiday earlier this year: Active Aging Week. We’re encouraging folks to be zipping around whatever their age. Yet standard retirement age is 65, as if we’re all going to sink down the day after we reach that age.
Lifespan was shorter when age 65 was the number originally set as a standard for retirement. But that was 1935 — almost 90 years ago! Since then, especially in the last decade, study after study shows we don’t all just collapse when we hit 65, or 75, or even 80+.
In a 2020 NPR interview, Richard Johnson, senior fellow director of the Program on Retirement Policy at the Urban Institute said, “If you look at someone age 65 or older now, that person is 75% more likely to be working than someone who was in the same age group a generation ago.” (1)
Yes, as the story acknowledges, some of these older workers are on the job out of necessity. But many keep working for more positive reasons. Some have been in their job forever and love it; others have found a new vocation.
It’s more than just age
A story offering insights on the value of senior workers offers their ability to retain a business’s “Knowledge and Networks” as one of the 10 reasons they’re a value, not a hindrance.
They note a local newspaper in Queens, NY, had to save money, so its older workers stayed on at fewer hours. Because of their long-time backgrounds with the newspaper, they “have retained relationships with all of the area businesses that they built up over several decades that would otherwise be lost.” (2)
Here are just a few other reasons having older workers (and I’m including those ages 50+) can benefit a company:
- They’re loyal — They’re not the kind to just go flitting around from job to job. They don’t need to be seeking major promotions or moving to a new geographic locale. (3)
- Amazing skills — These people bring knowledge of a wide range of areas needed for business success. (4) E.g., Marketing, sales, employee loyalty, time management…the list goes on.
- Great attitudes — They’re not only loyal, they demonstrate a host of solid personality strengths. That includes strong positivity and practicality. They don’t just worry about failure; they truly review things, like a current sales objective, and work out ways to make it better — or even replace it.
- They’re adaptable — Too often, there’s the assumption that seniors — especially the 65 and older group — aren’t viable hires because they’re unfamiliar with the latest rules or tools. They originally didn’t work with today’s HR diversity and equality mandates, or current POS systems. But over and over, older folks show great abilities — even an eagerness — to learn. After all, there’s an old saying along the lines of “If you stop learning, you stop living.”
- They’re teachers — Yes it could be teaching actual classes (like “Secrets for Closing the Deal”), but even beyond that they teach the basic skills needed for success not only in work, but in life. Learning these skills sooner in life helps younger employees grow and advance, avoiding (or at least minimizing) mistakes.
- They’re learners — I mentioned their adaptability, and that ties into learning more not just about business issues. It’s also about the life skills and information that younger colleagues know…like understanding Tweeter, or what the heck Maroon 5 is.
So admit it. Wouldn’t having more older workers bring you many — even all — of these benefits? Start accepting someone with 20+ years expertise.
Trust me…they wouldn’t have such credentials if they hadn’t kept learning, expanding their expertise. ###
Wendy Meyeroff has all sorts of credentials in communications for and about America’s aging population, thanks to her 20+ years in B2B and B2C materials for this group. From magazines to PowerPoint to case studies to eBooks and webinars…well list goes on. So get in touch for free now and you’ll collaborate, just like Merck, Johns Hopkins, CBS, Erickson Living, and more.