5 reasons why hiring older Singaporean workers is a boonBy Julian Abraham Chua
It has always been a trend to hire the young as they possess energy, relevant skills and knowledge and the capacity to learn fast. But with the pros come the cons that many companies are facing when young employees are of concern.
Generally speaking, there is a tendency for new grads and those fresh on the job to job hop and show insufficient workplace enthusiasm and commitment towards their work as studies and surveys suggests from feedback from organisation bosses and management.
Quite understandably, they have a whole career path ahead of them and plenty of options on how they want their future to be. Thus when a better job opportunity comes along with a lucrative offering, they grab it.
Although the situation isn’t as dire as it seem, companies are missing out on another group of people who can potentially make excellent workers.
Older skilled workers like those in their fifties and sixties can’t offer what the young can in certain aspects.
But they certainly have other work attributes and plus points that the young do not have as well. There is always a certain level of misplaced preconceptions that the majority of older workers fit manual job positions best even though they may have years of hands-on experience, practical knowledge and relevant qualifications.
Many companies think that the older employees may not be able to cope with the ever-changing corporate landscape and may instead hinder work productivity thus resist hiring them. Moreover, human resource may often exhibit age-based biases and this can be something to be addressed.
However it is a risk worth taking if companies can see through the downsides, that older workers can make significant contributions to the company and should create a hiring policy to strategically attract more older workers who can add value in a different way.
Moreover with a projected aging workforce that goes on an incline significantly by 2020, a change of hiring policies can be made more justifiable. The expanding pool of senior talent can be a boon to SMEs if businesses are able to help them integrate into the workplace and tap on years of invaluable knowledge and expertise.
SMEs need to recognize strength in diversity even as older workers may have less energy and drive than younger employees. These group have different style that emphasizes other values and thus the fear of added expense largely through health-related issues and problems of integration should not be part of the common objections to hiring seniors as they can be savings as well.
Besides making hiring policies more senior-centric, businesses should create an environment that suits older workers that allows them to perform their best. The ideal job will accent altruism, interaction and teamwork.
They also perform best when consulted and empowered. They may have younger supervisors so it would be beneficial to ensure they have no problems managing someone much senior than them.
In many instances, employers who put faith in older workers to get the job done can at the end of the day be rewarded with such employees who are honest, responsible, dependable, loyal, focused, organized and mature as they will discover.
With older workers as employees, we can expect dedication to the job at hand and seniors who take pride in their work, not to mention requiring minimum training and maintenance.
For this group of baby boomers most of whom have no plans to move up and out, they can provide significant cost savings for the company in the long run.
Companies who have previously put their faith in older workers by giving them important roles in the company can vouch from first-hand experiences that older workers can continue to do the job despite their age.
There are many seniors who may be close to retirement age or have retired but would like to get back into the workforce and make contributions. These people are more than happy/willing to teach and pass on their knowledge and skills to the younger generations. This is something valuable that employers want and need.
Utilizing the expertise and experiences of them can yield better organisation-wide results. There are countless benefits from the hiring and integration of seniors in the workplace:
Great work attitude
Most older skilled workers don’t have problems with punctuality. They are usually leading a carefree lifestyle and don’t have much responsibilities and self-achievements to fulfil unlike the younger generations who have a whole life ahead of them.
When it comes to integrity, they usually are honest and are devoted to the truth as they see no point in lying. Besides anti-corruption, they are most likely to be whistleblowers who alert the management to corrupted individuals within the company.
They put in a decent effort each day without complaining and have no problems managing their time and being on time.
Furthermore, they look forward to their jobs and tasks at hand with a positive outlook and put in genuine effort. Their focus and concentration levels can be admired as they can spot flaws in the company and will sound it out.
Older workers make excellent mentors and role models to younger employees, thus this helps in the grooming and training of other employees. Besides being efficient, they make great listeners and are vocal in their thoughts and ideas.
They have confidence to share their suggestions and recommendations which really can be seen as a bonus output for organisation improvement ideas. Also they don’t hesitate to give feedback to management though it may be negative.
Further more, they know how to handle people at the sites, make great ambassadors and have empathy and discipline.
Also, they are known to posses excellent communication skills. They know when and how to communicate that evolves through years of experience. Older workers understand workplace politics and know how to diplomatically convey their ideas to the boss.
All these along with the maturity that comes from years of life and work experiences makes them an intangible value that business owners can appreciate.
Highly committed and dedicated
Another asset older workers offer to small businesses is flexibility. They often don't need to keep 9 to 5 hours. Their kids are grown up. They relish the freedom of unconventional job situations.
Moreover, these workers have no trouble producing high quality work, which can result in a significant cost savings. Stories abound of highly committed older workers finding others' potentially costly mistakes regarding everything from misspelling of client names to pricing errors and accounting mistakes.
Another factor that makes them valuable can be pride in a job well done, something that has become an increasingly rare commodity among younger employees. Younger workers want to put in their time at work and leave, while older employees are more willingly to stay later to get a job done because of their sense of pride in the final product.
Research also indicates older workers are more loyal, and less turnover is less cost.
Older workers are less concern about their salary. What they would be looking for is something to past time and a source of extra income. They would have saved up enough for retirement and are less picky about hiring at their age are not something companies look for.
As a result, reduced labor costs are a huge benefit when hiring older workers. Most already have insurance plans from prior employers or have an additional source of income and are willing to take a little less to get the job they want.
Moreover, they understand that working for a company can be about much more than just collecting a paycheck.
Effects in company overview (conclusion)
Hiring older workers can result in huge cost savings and benefits to the company as a whole. Their knowledge and experience plus willingness to voice their opinions can be invaluable and could play a significant role in steering the company to greater heights.
Having said that, many are attracted to flexible arrangements, including part-time and seasonal work and phased retirement, which enables them to withdraw gradually from the workforce. It would be good to provide them with opportunities for training, new experiences, and competitive health care and retirement benefits.
Any business owner who's hesitant to hire an older worker should consider these benefits. Older workers' unique skills and values plus the potential savings to the company in time and money, makes hiring them a simple matter of rethinking the costs of high turnover in a more youthful workforce vs. the benefits of experience and mature standards older workers bring to the mix.
Employers simply do not have the time or resources to deal with high employee turnover. When making hiring decision, one should seriously consider older workers: Their contribution to the company can positively impact the organisation’s bottom line for years to come.
As experts say, the goal in hiring older workers should not be ideological for the same as for any form of diversity: to become a stronger company based on the complementary strengths of the company’s employees.