Nothing tops attitude! Demographics also make it increasingly more difficult to find those 20-somethings, and even rarer the 20-something who can top the experience, loyalty and attitude of the older worker.
If businesses want to survive, they have to stop the trend of hiring only endangered 20-somethings and start seeking out older workers to fill empty positions. Hiring workers in their golden years means making some changes for an aging workforce but don’t let the gray hair fool you; today’s older workers are often physically fit and able to handle challenges in the workplace with minimum accommodations. Source: 7 Ways Businesses Can Surf the Silver Tsunami and Survive | Janice Celeste
Janice Celeste posts a list of pros and cons:
- Older employees have invaluable work experience and work ethic.
- They are usually able and willing to mentor younger, less experienced employees.
- They can take on part time or seasonal work. In fact, some prefer it.
- They are reliable and punctual.
- Older employees have a serious commitment to work, and they are loyal.
Many times, they already have established long-term networks of clients and contacts.
I would affirm all of these, but expand on a couple more.
- Older workers often come in a little early to ensure they are ready for work, and are willing to leave a little late if the business needs this.
- Older workers tend to have much better safety records.
- Older workers understand that cutting corners are like taking short-cuts. You often pay in the long run.
- Older workers have been around long enough to understand that the success of the business means they get a paycheque.
- Older employees might be set in their ways and sometimes are not as adept at new technology as their younger counterparts.
- They may need additional training and they may lack flexibility.
- They might be old enough to have one or more chronic diseases, which makes them more expensive when it comes to medical care and insurance.
- They prefer flexible hours.
These cons, identified by Janice Celeste are accurate, however businesses can “weed out” the Luddites by examining their track records. Some 60+ types know more about new technology and how businesses adapt than the average 20 year old. It will show on their resume.
Yes, some older workers may need training, but since older workers tend to be much more loyal so they often will stick around. You may hire a 20-something only to discover once they have experience that they move to something they consider “more exciting”. Older workers are less likely to “train and bolt”.
Yes, older workers get sick more or have more chronic diseases. Yet if businesses do the math and offset the costs of attrition due to younger workers leaving, this concern can be mitigated. Of course, today’s 60 year old is not the 60 year old of our parents generation.
Yes, older workers often prefer flexible hours. In fact, our whole culture is shifting towards desiring flexible hours, however people with higher levels of loyalty to their company and/or team will choose that flexibility while considering the needs of others. That has been my experience. Someone might want a four day week for the summer, but if there is a business crunch this same person will volunteer for over time.
Of course, you can interview with these cons in mind. Is the interviewee a grumpy old fart who looks like the smoking man from X-files? Or are they a seasoned worker with skills that would choke an elephant?
Eliminate the obvious con candidates and look for the Old Star Geeks! They are out there … waiting to perform their Awesomeness.