Unique skills, values come
through the experience of age
By Stephen Bastien
WANTED: EMPLOYEES who are honest,
responsible, dependable, loyal, focused, organized and mature.
Is this too much to ask?
American employers spend millions of
hours each year placing ads, prescreening,
interviewing, hiring and training workers,
only to find that many of the new hires work
for only a few months and then decide they
don’t want to be “just a clerk” anymore or feel
something better has come along as they
work their way up the corporate ladder.
Where can American employers find
dependable, steady employees who have no
plans to move up and out? Employees who
are dedicated to the job at hand and take
pride in their work? Employees who cost less
to hire, train and maintain?
The answer, I have found in many of my
own business ventures, is senior citizens, or,
for the purposes of this article, older workers.
Here are 10 advantages of hiring older
workers that may solve managers’ difficulties
with maintaining a reliable, dedicated workforce and result in significant cost savings in
both the short and long term.
1. Dedicated workers produce better-quality work, which can result in significant
savings. Stories abound of highly committed
older workers finding others’ potentially
costly mistakes in everything from incorrect
zip codes and misspelling of client names to
pricing errors and accounting mistakes.
2. Punctuality seems to be a given for
older workers. They look forward to going to
work each day, so they arrive on time and
ready to work.
3. Honesty is common among many
older workers, whose values include personal
integrity and a devotion to the truth.
4. Detail-oriented, focused and attentive
workers add an intangible value that rubs off
on all employees and can save thousands of
dollars. One business owner described a case
in which one of his older workers saved the
company more than $50,000 on one large
mailing job. His 75-year-old clerical worker
recognized that all of the zip codes were off
by one digit. Neither his mailing house nor
his degreed and highly paid marketing manager had noticed it.
5. Pride in a job well done has become
increasingly scarce among employees.
Younger workers want to put in their time at
work and leave, while older employees willingly stay later to get a job done because of
their sense of pride in the final product.
6. Organizational skills among older
workers mean employers who hire them are
less likely to be a part of this startling statistic:
More than a million staff hours are lost each
year due to workplace disorganization.
7. Efficiency and the confidence to share
their recommendations and ideas make older
workers ideal employees. Their years of experience in the workplace give them superior
understanding of how jobs can be done more
efficiently, which saves companies money.
Their confidence, built up over their years in
the workforce, means they’ll not hesitate to
share their ideas with management.
8. Maturity comes from years of life and
work experience and makes for workers who
get less “rattled” when problems occur.
9. Setting an example for other employees is an intangible value many employers
appreciate. Older workers make excellent
mentors and role models, so training other
employees is less difficult.
10. Reduced labor costs may be a benefit when hiring older workers. Most already
have insurance plans from prior employers
or have an additional source of income.
They understand that working for a company can be about much more than just
collecting a paycheck.
Employers who are hesitant to hire older
workers should consider these benefits.
Older workers’ unique skills and values
make hiring them a simple matter of rethinking the costs of high turnover in a more
youthful workforce versus the benefits of
experience and mature standards that older
workers bring to the mix. So the next time
you need to make a hiring decision, seriously consider older workers. Their contribution could positively impact the bottom
line for years to come. C
Stephen Bastien is an author and authority
on entrepreneurship. His current venture,
Bastien Financial Publications ( www.usbj.
biz), offers businesses the latest developments
through daily newsletters. To contact him, call
1-800-407-9044 or send an e-mail to steve@