They may be 50+, but they’re not ready to be put out to pasture. Contrary to popular belief, many older employees are not seeking retirement yet. They are ready, willing and able to keep working, stay productive and contribute to society and/or their community. They like to work!
Unfortunately, people in this age bracket, who are seeking employment, have discovered that age discrimination is a reality. Putting the legalities aside, employers who bypass hiring mature employees are overlooking top-notch candidates.
Older workers can help your company grow, save you money and increase your profits. Here are six reasons why you need them on your team(s).
1. Loyalty and Consistency
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tenure of employees 55 and older is more than three times longer than their younger counterparts (i.e., ages 25 and up).
Those in the restaurant business are probably used to high turnover rates. Younger employees have a tendency to come and go versus older ones who are more settled in their lives. Older employees have a strong work ethic and want stability as much as you do. Therefore, they are less likely to be looking for the next shiny object (i.e., climbing the corporate ladder) or to call in sick because “it’s a powder ski day” or “the surf is up.”
At New York’s Bartleby and Sage, Chefs Jorge and Alfonse have been with the business for more than 15 years. Event catering coordinator, Greta Poretsky says, “They just know their way around the kitchen. New chefs can have a hard time fitting in because the same recipes have been done for 17 years. Consistency is incredibly valuable financially.”
It goes without saying that mature employees have been around the block. They understand the work force and as a result, bring confidence and their expertise to the job. Their rich backgrounds can be applied to a wide range of projects.
Most likely, if they have a history of working in the hospitality industry, they are skilled at decision-making, customer service, problem solving, and conflict resolution. They don’t need much hand-holding.
3. Collaborative Attitude
In their younger days, ‘stroking their egos,’ or being ‘top gun’ may have been a priority, but now they no longer want the stress. Instead, older workers are more likely to be enthusiastic about connecting with a diverse group of co-workers and engaging with them as well as bringing their knowledge to the team. They understand the value of team work.
4. Leadership and Communication Skills
Mature workers grew up in a less technologically-based world. They’re used to talking face-to-face and voice-to-voice versus text, email, Instagram or Tik-Tok. They know what questions to ask and aren’t afraid to do so. Because they excel at interpersonal communication skills, combined with their experience in management, marketing and/or finances, they’re good leaders.
Given their years of experience, tenure, and diverse array of skills, they can serve as role models for their younger counterparts. In addition, when they pass along their knowledge to younger employees those employees grow, excel and get promoted, staying on board longer – saving the company money.
Jeremy Merrin, owner of Havana Central in Times Square, has a 59-year-old dishwasher on staff. He trains less experienced dishwashers and is rewarded with higher pay and bonuses. Merrin says, “There are expectations that you have to be as good as him. You have to keep up with him.” While you’d like new employees to know everything on day one, they don’t. Therefore, a seasoned employee has a lot to offer in the way of training the next generation of new hires.
And, when it comes to technology (a fear some companies have around hiring older workers), the younger generation can pass along their technical prowess to their senior colleagues. Mentoring goes both ways and fosters mutual respect.
As mentioned in reason #1, older workers are loyal and stable. This saves the company from the high cost of frequent turnovers and onboarding new employees. A mature workforce decreases your HR department’s need to recruit on an ongoing basis.
As Josh Bersin reported in the Harvard Business Review, job vacancies in the U.S. have outnumbered job applicants since 2018. He indicated that this is largely a result of baby boomers reaching retirement at a rate faster than millennials are able to step into their place. Bersin continued, “To continue to grow our economy, companies need to take action by bringing older people back to work and giving them meaningful, important jobs.”
Next time you’re seeking to fill a position within your company, create an inclusive environment and a welcoming, meaningful experience for the mature employee. Remember these six benefits and consider them for managerial, supervisory and/or mentoring roles.