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Julia Child was 49 when she co-wrote ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. Thanks to the hit cookbook, she later became a celebrity chef.
Colonel Harland Sanders faced a lot of rejections as an entrepreneur and only tasted success at the age of 65 after creating his “secret recipe” for Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952.
At age 52, milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc became the first franchise agent of McDonald’s. He later bought the company in 1961 and turned it into a global brand.
Figure skater and Vogue editor Vera Wang decided to resign and become a fashion designer at age 40. Fast forward to the present, she has become an iconic designer for wedding dresses.
If there’s anything to be learned from these stories, it’s that older workers can actually prove to be huge assets for your company.
Unfortunately, some companies hesitate to accept ‘mature’ applicants, thinking they have less to offer compared with younger workers. In fact, our “career systems, pay systems, and recruitment and assessment systems are designed against hiring older people,” according to a Harvard Business Review article.
In reality, however, hiring older workers can bring numerous benefits to businesses.
If you’re a startup owner looking forward to recruiting new members on your team, here are some reasons why you might want to consider hiring older workers.
Of course, one of the most obvious advantages is that more mature workers have gained a lot of skills and experience over the years. They’ve worked in different professional fields and so they’ve been exposed to a lot of circumstances and industries.
More than that, they’ve developed a strong work ethic. They know the importance of hard work. That's why you can be assured that the right candidates will contribute to your organization’s quest for success.
Older workers are always willing to offer suggestions to their superiors if they think it will contribute to the progress of the organization.
As Entrepreneur summed it up:
“Their years of experience in the workplace give them a superior understanding of how jobs can be done more efficiently, which saves companies money. Their confidence, built up through the years, means they won't hesitate to share their ideas with management.”
Most of the time, older workers are also willing to take up flexible work schedules when needed.
With age comes wisdom to make decisions after careful evaluation of possible outcomes. More seasoned talent is often more equipped to deal with difficult situations.
“An experienced worker can hit the ground running and be effective tout de suite,” a Forbes article tells us. “They also have honed those critical-thinking skills that can help them make solid decisions in a timely fashion without hand-holding and second-guessing.”
Mature-age workers can be invaluable team members for this reason alone. As a business owner, you want to hire people who are capable of handling matters on their own, especially when, for example, you’re away for an important business trip.
Need to hire someone to lead your team of young workers? Mature-age employees can be a perfect fit. They know how to communicate well with others and are respected by their colleagues.
As pointed out earlier, they have decision-making skills, even under high pressure situations. Plus they are more than willing to share their knowledge and skills with others. Having them function as mentors can significantly boost your team’s productivity and help decrease stress within the younger workforce.
Gender, race, and, yes, age discrimination are hot topics these days. Companies who embrace diversity and inclusion often get praise and support from the general public.
Having employees from different generations can bring fresh perspectives to the table. In some areas, governments likewise offer business incentives for those who comply with hiring mature workers and other marginalized groups.
Generally, they know their way around modern technology and are perfectly comfortable using computers.
“Workers 50 and over grew up with and used technology,” a USA Today article shares. “Many used the building blocks that current technology is built on. That old technology from the 80s or 90s may be obsolete, but the skills required to use it certainly aren’t.”
Older workers usually aren’t hopping from job to job just to earn more. They’re the exact opposite of their younger counterparts who are at the start of their careers and are often on the constant lookout for better job titles and salaries.
In comparison, many older workers are satisfied with getting hired at their age. You can likely expect them to stay with your company for years. They value stability and are, therefore, more focused in making meaningful contributions to the organizations where they belong.
Best of all, their loyalty can be priceless for you as an employer, especially if employee retention is an ongoing challenge in your business.
Hiring mature-age workers can definitely help take your business to the next level. They are smart, flexible, hardworking, and are very much devoted to their jobs. By getting them to work for you, you can help them provide for their own and add value to their lives.
To quote the late, great Nelson Mandela:
“A society that does not value its older people denies its roots and endangers its future. Let us strive to enhance their capacity to support themselves for as long as possible and, when they cannot do so anymore, to care for them.”
Feel free to ask fellow entrepreneurs about their experiences in hiring and retaining older employees. That way, you can have a clearer understanding of the requirements you will need to meet and what you can expect from doing so. You’ll see how hiring mature-age employees can give your organization a big advantage over your competitors.
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