The newsLINK Group - The Pros and Cons or Hiring Older People

Editorial Library Category: General Business Topics: Hiring Title: The Pros and Cons of Hiring Older People Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: It used to be that most people died soon after retirement at 65. Those days are gone, and they aren’t likely to come back anytime soon. As a responsible business owner, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks behind hiring someone older. Editorial: The Pros and Cons of Hiring Older People 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 It used to be that most people died soon after retirement at 65. Those days are gone, and they aren’t likely to come back anytime soon. As a responsible business owner, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks behind hiring someone older. You already know the risks. In September 2006, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released the results from an email survey about hiring older workers that was sent to HR professionals. Some HR professionals did report disadvantages: Older employees might bet set in their ways and sometimes are not as adept at new technology as their younger counterparts. They may need additional training, and they may lack flexibility. They might be old enough to have one or more chronic diseases, which makes them more expensive when it comes to medical care and insurance. They prefer flexible hours, but not all businesses can give them this benefit. An older employee may have very real physical limitations that require accommodation. If the employee is on Medicare, there are earning limitations. You can also be sure that older employees are probably not going to stay with your business for thirty years, although they may well stay for ten or twenty. Older employees do value relationships more; there are benefits to this, but it is also true that relationships can affect efficiency and productivity. And although younger employees may not have the perspective yet to appreciate what older employees offer, that’s a disadvantage for the younger employee, not the older one. Interestingly enough, though, HR managers were positive about hiring older people. Some 71 percent of those surveyed thought older workers had invaluable career experience, but only 49 percent thought older workers didn’t adequately keep up with technology, and only 36 percent thought health-care costs were an issue. These are not overwhelming statistics. The remaining percentages citing disadvantages were even lower; in fact, 24 percent said they didn’t see any disadvantages at all to hiring older workers. The top reasons for hiring older employees were as follows: Older employees have invaluable work experience, including diverse thoughts and approaches. They are usually able (and willing) to mentor younger, less-experienced employees. They can take on part-time or seasonal work. In fact, they often prefer it. They are reliable and have a strong work ethic. Older employees have a serious commitment to work, and they are loyal. Many time, they already have established, long-term networks of clients and contacts. Of those surveyed in 2006, 100 percent thought hiring older people had advantages. Although these HR professionals were careful to note that it is wrong to stereotype any employee by age, they also said that older employees can make excellent team players and are often more patient than younger employees. In fact, it is possible that some of the negative responses had more to do with bias than with reality. An article that appeared on Entrepreneur.com about hiring older employees echoed the results of the SHRM survey. It listed some reasons why it might be smart to hire older employees: Young employees can be careless. Older workers, who are dedicated to doing the best possible job, are often the ones who find and correct mistakes. That kind of person can potentially save your business a great deal of money along the way. For example, a 75-year-old clerical worker noticed that a mailing effort worth more than $50,000 had a one-digit mistake in the zip codes. The mailing house and the marketing manager both missed this error; the 75-year-old did not. How many mistakes of that magnitude can your company afford to eat? Punctuality, honesty, and an insistence on doing things

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