Hire Employees Over Fifty to Ensure an Experienced, Well-Rounded Team

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Hire Employees Over Fifty to Ensure an Experienced, Well-Rounded Team

What do you look for in a new employee? Education? Prior experience? People skills? Management aptitude? What about age? Many employers look for new hires with some pertinent experience, and, since it takes time to build up some experience under your belt, that generally rules out recent graduates or those new to the job market. There’s often a formula that employers use to screen candidates which includes an adequate amount of experience, motivation and potential. While this method of culling potential employees is somewhat effective to staff your company with workers of a similar type, it lacks the ability to identify more diverse - and well-suited - candidates.

The case for considering the older employee

An under-tapped population in which to discover new employees lies in those aged fifty and older. The fact is, where it once was considered the beginning of the end of a career, being over fifty is no longer considered “old.” Still, in many cases, individuals over fifty are overlooked by hiring managers as “past their prime” or “irrelevant” to their company, and are commonly looked upon as:

  1. resistant to new ideas, systems or technology
  2. uncomfortable working with/for younger coworkers
  3. more likely to have health issues that affect vigor, stamina, performance and/or concentration
  4. unwilling or unable to travel
  5. potentially “burned out” and/or unmotivated

These attitudes, however, are blatantly incorrect. People over fifty offer a variety of abilities and skills unique to their advanced age - and these can prove to be real perks to a business.

Experience is key

Those who’ve been in the workaday world for a good number of years are bound to have picked up a great deal of experience. That experience manifests in a variety of areas, making them well-rounded and mature employees. Some positive attributes of employees over fifty include:

Emotional stability - The more - and the more varied - situations you’ve experienced, the easier it is to keep cool in potentially emotional circumstances. That’s where the older employee’s experience in managing crisis, servicing customers, dealing with coworkers, handling conflict and the like can be a major plus.

Patience - This particular skill is developed with experience. Patience is forged through seeing the way things come together over time. It’s a big-picture point of view that becomes easier to access with age.

Agile thinking - Rather than being “stuck in their ways,” older workers, by virtue of their greater experience on the job, can be more flexible when faced with obstacles. This allows for more and different options when solving problems or developing strategies.

Interpersonal skills, listening and writing - With years of experience working with people, the older employee has considerable experience with professional communications. They know effective communication is as much knowing what to say as how to say it. They also understand that listening is as important as speaking. And they’ve had to get along with and accommodate a wide variety of people throughout the years.

Professionalism - Experience has taught the older worker that a professionalism is a lot more than wearing a suit and offering a firm handshake. She knows the hallmarks of professionalism include integrity, capability and insight - all of which have become deeply ingrained in her demeanor.

Mature leadership - The subtleties of being a leader are revealed through experience. Certainly strength of character, forward vision and determination are the building blocks; but over time, a leader learns the importance of teamwork, generosity of spirit and intuition that elevate a leader to great heights.

If you’re not yet convinced to hire workers over fifty…

Here are a few more reasons older workers are worth hiring:

Organization and detail orientation - Older workers posses finely honed organizational skills. They are adept at keeping track of the fine details that can easily be overlooked by their younger counterparts.

Motivated by external factors - At this later, wiser stage of life, older workers are less interested in making money and vying for promotions; they tend to be more motivated by the opportunity to carry out your company mission to, say, benefit a cause. This makes them a powerful, influential resource.

Reliability, stability and loyalty - Older workers tend to have a strong work ethic. You can count on them to get their work done on time every time. They’re employees who are in it for the long haul. Because they’re less concerned with upward mobility and career advancement, if you treat them with respect and acknowledge their contributions, they’re unlikely to leave your employ.

Older employees can be a welcome, beneficial addition to your team. Be certain to make learning opportunities available to them so they can keep up to speed on new company procedures and technology. When you open your company to the benefits older employees offer, you’ll be rewarded with a more diverse, well-rounded, inclusive team.

Does your business take advantage of the treasure trove of experience older employees have to offer?

Read other Gina articles