The inclusion of older employees in the workforce benefits companies, the economy, and the employees themselves. More people are choosing to work later in life, sometimes to delay retirement and boost their Social Security check. Often, however, mature workers choose work as a means to remain engaged and relevant.
Contributions of Mature Employees
Hiring, training, and retaining older workers can greatly benefit a business. Older workers bring one of the most valuable resources – experience – to the table. They are proven contributors and have lived through both upswings and downturns in the economy. As a result of their longer-term perspective, they are usually well-positioned to make the following contributions to companies:
- Hard work, due to their strong work ethic;
- Meaningful contributions to employee training;
- Quicker onboarding, due to a reduced need for training;
- Empathy, with which they serve clients and build relationships with coworkers;
- Much-needed skills in areas with inadequate labor forces;
- Institutional memory, to help businesses during periods of turnover; and
- Enthusiasm, because they choose to be working, rather than working because they must.
Flexibility in Employing Mature Employees
Many employers have led the way in incorporating older workers into their workforce and in keeping older workers on their payrolls. Some have even implemented new policies or strategies to attract and retain older workers, as well:
- Two-way mentoring programs, through which older and less experienced workers learn from one another;
- Revised punctuality policies, which allow all employees a pool of time each year to be late, provided they notify their supervisors in advance;
- Revise vacation policies, which allow all workers to roll unused vacation time into paid Family and Medical Leave Act accounts; and
- Part-time work arrangements, to accommodate the challenges of parenting and grandparenting.
Older workers generally have positive attitudes and high self-esteem, not to mention their participation in the workforce is a boost to our economy. This is particularly so in industries that clamor for experienced workers, such as nursing and many of the skilled trades.
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