Nurturing Mature Workers Yields Good ROI

As an HR professional, you already know how hard it is to find and hold onto good talent right now. First, there was the Great Resignation of 2021 and 2022. Forty-eight million people quit their jobs in 2021, followed by millions more this year. Job openings hit record highs of nearly 11 million, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. Industries are feeling the pinch, with short staffing hampering everything from restaurants to retail to tech and professional services. Beneath this, another wave of workers is waffling: 52% of Millennial and Gen Z workers—the youngest generations in the workforce—are considering changing companies or careers this year.  

Taken together, these insights on talent shortages and risks are enough to keep most HR professionals up at night. At a time when employers nationwide are desperate to find and retain reliable workers, there is another option to consider: mature workers. 

Older workers may not be as tech savvy, but they have years of valuable experience and other attractive qualities that can make them smart hires. If your organization is struggling with a talent shortage, it may be time to broaden your hiring lens. Here are the top reasons why hiring older workers can address the staffing pinch, boost productivity, and benefit your bottom line. 

Older workers have strong communication skills

Sure, email, texting, Slack, and other communication tools have transformed productivity. But they have also eroded communication skills. As digital natives, many younger workers do not know when they should pick up the phone or have an in-person conversation, especially over a sensitive matter. 

Older workers, though, often have strong communication and interpersonal skills, honed in the days when our digital devices did not dominate our days. Older workers can also offer mentorship in face-to-face communications with younger workers, benefitting staff development. They can also use those strong communication skills to your customers to deliver answers, support, and excellent service that can grow customer loyalty. 

Older workers are reliable and hard-working

Younger employees in the workforce, especially those in their first roles, sometimes struggle to arrive on top. Or they might have problems with attendance. Mature workers have been working their entire lives—and they can be far more reliable about showing up to work each day. In service, retail, or event industries, this reliability can mean the difference between profit and loss. 

Older workers are loyal—and stay longer

Companies make significant investments in hiring and training employees. When employees leave after only a few months or short years, these departures—and the high indirect and direct costs of hiring—can be costly. Older workers, though, are less likely to be motivated by job hopping to gain seniority or ascend the corporate ladder. 

Mature workers also stay longer. According to BLS research, “The length of time a worker remains with an employer increased with the age at which the worker began the job.” The report found that tenure for workers with their current employer was highest for the oldest workers at 10.2 years. 

It’s not easy to find and retain good talent, but good people are your organization’s most important asset. When you’re ready to broaden your talent strategy, consider how mature workers can fit in. 

If you’ve hired older workers, what are the positives you’ve seen in the workplace? 

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