Usually when I write articles espousing the virtues of older workers, they tend to not receive as much attention as an article about millennials, which makes me think they could do with some more coverage.
As I write on this subject of older workers, I want to emphasize that I am pro-millennials, as I believe this generational grouping brings its own unique range of benefits to any organization they inhabit, such as vision, energy, ambition, ideas, flexibility, etc.
However, I wanted to bring into clear view some of the benefits that older workers can bring to your business, or any business, as part of an overall hiring strategy committed to anti-discrimination and diversity.
1. Older workers have higher levels of engagement
Staff engagement levels are generally thought to be linked to performance, that is higher engagement equals higher performance. The Blessingwhite Global Engagement Report 2011, showed that Baby Boomers have the highest levels of engagement in pretty much all the regions of the world. Part of the explanation for this was that Baby Boomers have more realistic expectations of career progression and had a better appreciation of their own strengths, weaknesses, goals and desired working conditions.
2. Older workers waste less time
This is a potentially controversial statement but there are two studies available which strongly suggest this is the case. The first was reported on complianceandsaftey.com and it revealed the following statistics in terms of time wasted by year of birth. The source I used did not report the reasons behind this.
1930 – 1949: 0.5 hours a day wasted
1950 – 1959: 0.68 hours a day wasted
1960 – 1969: 1.19 hours a day…
1970 – 1979: 1.61 hours…
1980 – 1985: 1.95 hours…
A second study, that was MetLife’s 10th Annual Study of Benefits, also found that older workers wasted less time and also gave some explanation as to why this might be the case, asserting that older workers spent less time being distracted and absent as a result of financial concerns. That is 17 percent of younger boomers and just 8 percent of older boomers took time off for/were distracted by financial issues. This compares very favorably to Generation X where 25 percent took such time off and Gen X where 36 percent took such time off.
3. Older workers will generally stay longer at your business
Further insights from the MetLife’s 10th Annual Study of Benefits showed that older workers are likely to stay longer at your business, that is they are more loyal and won’t voluntarily resign as readily as younger workers. For example, in their survey they found that given the choice only 21 percent of older boomers and 27 percent of younger boomers hope to be working for another employer over the next 12 months. Compare this to 37 percent for generation X and 54 percent for generation Y. This means that you are likely to have less replacement/recruitment costs for any given period with a pool of older workers versus younger workers and a company with a higher proportion of older workers may – all things being equal – have less empty desks/non productive time.
Finally, it’s important to stress that a commitment to hiring older workers should be a part of an overall commitment to a diversity based hiring strategy, which encompasses all generational groupings, races, etc. Not only are these practices compliant with the law in most jurisdictions, there is good evidence to show that companies with diverse employee populations outperform those with less diverse populations; in particular, a study by Diversity Inc. reported by the SHRM revealed that over a 10-year period, traded companies in Diversity Inc.’s top ten outperformed the Nasdaq, S&P 500 and Jones Industrial Average by 22 percent, 25 percent and 22 percent, respectively.