Every day employers complain that while they truly need, if not require, reliable, trustworthy, ethical employees, these qualities just aren’t that simple to acquire in many of their prospective employee options. Instead, small business owners are finding that it’s sometimes incredibly difficult to find employees who are ready and willing to be available to work and have the much-needed job experience and client/customer service experience to bring success to their business.
It’s been over the last few decades (or longer) that companies large and small decided that they could replace their older workforce with younger employees. It had become a common belief that by ridding themselves of their senior workers, they would save money.
After all, health benefits alone would be less expensive for a younger workforce; they were young and healthy, physically more attractive, they are physically stronger. Most importantly, with less experience, surely they could hire a fresh-out-of-school workforce with less experience and train them on their own. Hiring late teens to thirties employees would mean that the business owner or management could offer lower wages and salaries.
Meanwhile, their older employees were forced into early retirement; sent home with a treasure trove of experience, excellent work ethic, seasoned face to face client/customer service abilities and an amazing ability to continue to progress with the company. True, not only because they were raised to believe that hard work would always take them where they wanted to go in life, but it had always been these practices that kept them happy on the job. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case in today’s business world.
Today, small businesses realize that having a multigenerational workforce is invaluable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that; by the year 2020, approximately one-quarter of the nation’s workforce will be aged 55 years or older.
Consider Some of the Qualities Older Workers Could Bring to Your Small Business
Small businesses are always on the look-out for “thought leadership”. Think about this; 50+ potential employees are in fact, your best bet for thought leadership. Why? Many of them have spent their careers thinking about everything business. Even older women who have been stay-at-home mothers have had to be resourceful about how to efficiently run households which even today is no easy feat.
Those people who have worked in the pre-digital world have spent much of their respective careers thinking about how to improve their businesses, seeking thoughtful ways to increase profitability, retain their clients/customers and they were expected to create repeat clients/customers.
It was their job to find ways to consistently improve their careers and the businesses they were a part of. They took the time to pay attention to clients/customers, their needs, their desires and through observation, many of their businesses had/have become successful entities and are still successful today. They lived an “if you want it done right, do it yourself” time in history.
In today’s fast-paced, noisy, digital age, older employees can and will offer some peace and incredible ideas to improve your business and profitability. Older workers are the ultimate thought leaders. They are the ultimate client/customer service representatives. They are incredible assets that are often overlooked.
- Older workers often have the experience that you need. In today’s digital world, business owners and managers tend to become complacent, believing that the world will hear them as long as they can send an email and run online ads.
- Older workers are always willing to provide service to both their employers and their client’s/customers.
- Older workers learned early on that loyalty to their employer is vital. They aren’t looking for the higher salaries, nor are they ready to jump ship if they happen to notice a distant shiny object. Treat them with respect; they will do the same for you, and your business is likely to improve with their mere presence. They tend to love their jobs, and your clients/customers will absolute certainty notice.
- Older workers, for the most part, are confident in their knowledge of things. Further, if they don’t know the answer your client/customer asks, they will pleasantly state that they are uncertain and will work diligently to find the answers for them.
- Interestingly older workers often possess advanced skills in critical thinking. Contrary to popular belief, older workers are perfectly capable of saving money for the businesses for which they work.
As an added plus; older workers are capable of assisting younger workers by providing mentorship, and often younger workers are willing to accept the advice offered by older workers. Younger workers often realize how much they can learn from older workers early on. According to a U.S. News article addressing the value of hiring older workers;
“Hiring workers who’ve passed the half-century mark shouldn’t be seen as an act of pity; it should be seen as a strategic move that’s a win-win for employers and employees alike.”*
If you’re a small business owner or plan to be a small business owner in 2018, you would be wise to consider the older worker as exactly the thought leadership you need to move you to the next level in your business,