In a nutshell: In a tight labor market, you can’t afford to ignore applicants who can offer wisdom and experience.
A multigenerational workforce has a competitive advantage for companies, because a diverse group of employees bring together a wide range of ideas, knowledge and experiences.
Today, we have five generations present in the workforce: the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. While a lot of energy is spent recruiting recent generations entering the workforce, a focus on hiring older workers may prove productive. Below learn why you should consider older workers as a powerful part of your team and how to attract them to your company.
What Older Workers Bring to the Table
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about a quarter of the workforce will be age 55 or older by 2020, and they bring a unique set of skills that you’ll want to leverage on your multigenerational team. American Express’ Open Forum’s “5 Good Reasons to Hire Older Workers” points out that older employees have good leadership skills. They were employed during a time when electronic communication did not dominate the workplace and, therefore, have good face-to-face communication and people skills.
Beyond the capabilities they bring to the table, a bonus to hiring older workers is that you can save money. While health insurance costs or technology training expenses may increase due to older workers, their experience allows them to “hit the ground running and be effective immediately,” according to U.S. News & World Report’s “5 Reasons Employers Should Hire More Workers Over Age 50.”
Older workers can make decisions quickly, thanks to advanced critical thinking skills, reducing the time it would take a less experienced employee to identify necessary changes. And older workers can impart what they know to the team’s younger employees as unofficial mentors.
How to Recruit Older Workers
Employers most often think about the latest talent acquisition tools and technologies to get their jobs out into the market, but following only these new methods may not attract older candidates. A multimedia approach to marketing the job will attract a more diverse group of candidates. There may be industry publications these workers have been subscribing to for years with which you can place an ad or try LinkedIn groups for more experienced professionals. Additionally, AARP has a program called “Back to Work 50+” that connects people with information, support, training and employer access to regain employment or advance in the workforce.
Something employers may not even realize they’re doing is building an employment brand that excludes older workers. According to Forbes’ “7 Ways Employers Can Support Older Workers and Job Seekers,” showing a range of ages in any recruitment marketing collateral online or in print demonstrates that all ages are welcome to apply.
Through employment branding efforts, you can also make older workers feel comfortable by sharing your company’s willingness to train. Because older workers may continue working beyond retirement, consider offering flexible work arrangements (e.g., telecommuting, part-time, sabbaticals), retirement investments (or stock options), wellness programs (e.g., reimbursement for gym memberships) and education programs (e.g., monthly topics on-site, tuition reimbursement) to attract them to your company.
If you like this story, check out Why (and How) to Hire a Veteran.