Teaching older employees new tricks

Why the comeback?, How can older employees help you?, Overcoming challenges.

Seniors are a growing segment of the workforce in the U.S. In fact, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, by 2030, the number of Americans over 65 will be 70 million – double the number in 2001. The association also indicates that, in the next ten years, the number of labor force participants over age 55 will increase by 46 percent.

Why the Comeback?

These demographic trends (coupled with longer life expectancy and personal financial reasons) are causing many retirees to return to a variety of professions. Many find themselves needing to supplement a retirement income made insufficient by heavy losses in the stock market, or because they did not save enough in previous years.

There is also a desire to contribute to society again. People realize they will live longer – in some cases, twenty more years than was historically expected – and younger retirees don't necessarily want to spend their time at home.

How Can Older Employees Help You?

So, what can older employees offer you and your company? The simple and obvious answer is, "experience." Let's look at that answer in more detail:

  • Early retirees are a wealth of information and knowledge that is relevant for today's market, which is increasingly in need of their intellectual capital.
  • Many older workers have spent a bulk of their careers at big companies. Tap into this "big company" expertise and knowledge.
  • These seasoned veterans can usually jump into a position without a need for intensive training.

Overcoming Challenges

However, returning to the workforce is not without challenges for this class of employees. Some of the obstacles retirees returning to work may face include dealing with rapidly changing technology, increased necessity for broader skill sets, and how to market themselves when coming out of retirement. In addition, there are a number of key areas that companies should focus on when hiring older workers.

Ajilon Professional Staffing offers these key pointers to help you ensure your older workforce excels:

  • Keep them interested. If you help your older employees continue to move their career forward and foster a passion for your business, they will be more motivated to learn new tasks and stay on top of the latest industry trends.
  • Make sure they're in the tech-know. It's very important for both you and your employees, old and new, to keep up with the most up-to-date technological and computer advances. If you invest a little in ensuring your staff is techno-savvy by implementing specific training programs relevant to your business, it can only benefit your company's growth and productivity.
  • Get the most out of their experience. Smaller companies are always looking to leverage "big company" expertise and many older workers have spent a bulk of their careers at big companies. Take advantage of this experience.

Even in the face of challenges, seniors returning to the workforce have the opportunity to contribute their expertise to companies. Now, more than ever, experience, integrity and knowledge are essential requirements to being successful at any job. There is no better time for seniors who possess these qualities to return to doing what they love.

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