Employers should not discount their older worker’s contributions. Longtime employees possess valuable experiences along with critical knowledge that one uncovers only when the veteran employee leaves—gap awareness.
Many companies thought it’s easier to fill the knowledge gap by hiring young, smart, educated employees. However, that’s a total fallacy, because the knowledge learned over a lifetime, by experiencing complex situations, learning to resolve problems, and how to connect the dot is priceless.
Are your older workers worth hedging?
Companies often terminate costly older employees and replace them with younger, less expensive alternatives. However, the cost of training the new hires to reach standard competency often exceed the savings and leaves you with someone who has tons of energy but cannot solve critical problems.
Older employees are often perceived as lethargic, expensive, and behind the technology curve. Medicine and technology have allowed us to increase our life, expectancy by 50% in the last 100 years.
Our society and thinking weren’t designed to accept that people over 50 years can still perform as well as a 30-year-old, and occasionally outdo them. Today, it’s common to see a 60-year-old or even 70-year older adult being super active, dynamic, smart, healthy, connected, and productive.
“We are what we repeatedly do.Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”—Aristole
I met an 84-year-old gentleman that still work seven days a week at his craft, and he loves it. He does it out of love, not a necessity. His words “I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I tried fishing, long vacations, movies bingeing, and I wasn’t happy. I’m happiest now when I’m at work, creating, thinking, and helping others.”
Today’s older employees can act, think, react, and reinvent themselves as often and as quickly as their younger peers can. Keeping your older employees around your younger employee serve the company well. Your older employees learn from their younger peer how to stay mentally agile, and the younger employee learns how to think with maturity long-term.
Does Loyalty matter?
According to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years. The median tenure for employees age 65 or more is 10.3 years.
In this era of job-hopping, it’s encouraging to see committed older employee contributing with enthusiasm, vigor, and passion towards a common goal.
It gives hope to the young employees that love the company and want to stay around.
” People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new contract.” —Pamela Stroko
Before you dismiss, an older employee thinks long and hard about the value of intangible losses you would incur against your short-term tangible benefits. You should also think about the emotional impact you are engraving on your younger employee, if you care less about loyalty, why should they?
What’s the difference in term of brainpower?
As we age, our fluid thinking process slows down, but our synthetic thinking process grows exponentially.
Put simply when you are young, you can create/invent things out of pure imagination that’s fluid thinking. Synthetic thinking is your ability to combine ideas into a complex whole, that integrative thinking ability increases as you get older, and you can be as potent at 70 years old as when you were 40.
Synthetic thinkers can hold both sides of the argument in their head simultaneously. These thinkers value conflict because it allows better ideas to emerge and better solution to emanate.
It’s the older employee that dares to ask dumb-smart questions that no one thought of before or dare to ask and that bravery and candor helps the company to face its challenges and grow.
Employee 45 years old and older constitute a significant value added to the workforce. These skilled, capable, experienced trailblazers are responsible, committed partners and collaborators. Whether you are a CEO or a janitor, it takes years of experience to do your job well!
” Treat your older employees the same way you want them to treat your very best customers.”—Anthony Chaine
Your older employees are the short-cut to your value creation; it’s your competitive edge, your gap bridge, and revenue creation. All you have to do is leverage their knowledge.
They have seen and lived through many economic ups and downs that they can instinctively detect most market changes before they even happen. Most importantly, these employees know how to adapt quickly to overcome adversity and challenges.
These qualities can be found in young adults as well, but experience and maturity tend to be a result of friction and practice. Business events repeat themselves often, and unless you have people who lived and survived trends, you will be forced to either repeat the same mistake and learn or save time, effort and money by borrowing from your older employees bank of knowledge and wisdom.
“Hire people hearts and minds first. Never force your experienced people to serve you with their hands and hold back their hearts and minds.” —Anthony Chaine
Grey hair and wrinkles should a sign of as time tested, proven warriors that won and prevailed against sometimes impossible odds.
When hiring mature individuals, please focus on the incredible strength they bring to your organization along with professionalism, loyalty, expertise, relationship building, communication ability, negotiation skills, and coaching acumen. Mature employees are caring professionals who can add value faster than you can imagine.
Think, would you want to hire a criminal law attorney with 20 years experience handling tough cases, or a new graduate criminal law attorney.
Would you trust your life to a brain surgeon who’s first patient is you, or someone who has successfully performed thousands of brain surgery?
We prefer experienced professionals, and we trust a competent, mature individual when it matters the most. Why wouldn’t you value your skilled employees the same way?
So, think again before you think of firing an older employee or current executive, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.
Times have changed; ageism should not have a place in any workplace. Create a balance, hire mature employees because they can do the job and because their life experiences are priceless in times of need.
Thank you for reading!