In this highly globalized world, it is important to have a diversified workforce. This means that your workers must come from all ages, cultures, nations, and experiences. A team should be as diverse to come up with great and fresh ideas. Many highly developed economies are actually reliant on their older workforce. Singapore, for example, has a lot of older people still working for big companies. Aside from the fact that they are trying to save more on retirement, these older workers are also still contributing magnificently to a company’s success.
The problem with how the world looks at mature workers affects organizations. This population faces an uphill battle in terms of competing with the younger workforce. They can take certificate courses to develop their skills and arm themselves with the tools to be competitive once more.
There is no denying that there are some challenges when it comes to their ability to maximize technology. However, this should not be a reason to discriminate against them from your workforce. You could be losing so much by not giving older workers a chance to prove themselves to you.
Deep Industry Knowledge
What they bring to any organization is deep industry knowledge. If they’ve been working in the same industry for years, it only means that they have a deeper understanding of it. They’ve watched the industry from conception; they know its ins and outs. They encountered problems in the past, and they know how to address them. This is the kind of “expertise” that organizations cannot get from fresh graduates who have only knowledge but not a deep understanding of what will make the company grow.
Mature workers also have highly developed soft skills. They have worked with all kinds of people with different temperaments. They know how to handle difficult co-workers. Whenever there’s a problem with a co-worker, they’re usually the ones who help settle things. They know how not to let these things affect their productivity at work. This is born out of their experiences, too. Their experiences in the past taught them never to let personal relationships at work affect their output.
They are also great communicators. They can negotiate well with clients because they have years of knowledge of making clients say yes to their suggestions. This is the kind of skill that the younger workforce will take years to develop. Companies should take advantage of this skill on their older workers.
Highly Developed Networks
It’s not like new graduates, and the younger workforce will have friends and acquaintances across the industry already. At most, they have a couple of friends working in the same industry. But these are not highly developed networks. They are mere acquaintances. Older and more mature workers have friends across a hodgepodge of small and medium enterprises, conglomerates, non-profit organizations, and many more. They can easily tap this network when they need something about a project.
Older workers tend to stay longer with one organization. A business owner in Upper East Side in New York said that someone he hired at 60 years old went on to stay for another 10 years. When that worker was about to retire, the owner asked him to stay for another year to train his son, who was about to take over the business. Statistics showed that mature workers stay with a company on an average of 10.4 years, while younger workers stay for only about three years or even less.
Willingness to Learn
Yes, older workers are indeed more technologically challenged than younger workers. They, after all, did not grow up with computers and the Internet. It wasn’t their fault that they didn’t know how to design a website or navigate one as smoothly as younger workers. But here’s the thing: they are almost always willing to learn. Many companies have started upskilling and reskilling their older workers with tech skills so that they can keep their jobs. Those who invested in teaching their older workforce are reaping the rewards of that investment.
The perceived tech gap should not stop companies from hiring older employees when studies showed that they stay longer with one company, are less tardy, have fewer absences, and are more open to criticisms and learning. Although no workforce is perfect, the fact that they’ve matured doing their jobs should not be taken against them. Yes, the world is changing, and with that come challenges in recruiting workers. But that shouldn’t cause a company to lose the opportunity to learn and benefit from more mature workers.