How hiring a mature worker can add value to your team

How hiring a mature worker can add value to your team

Picture the following scene:

You’re looking to hire a new employee, and today’s the first day you’re interviewing candidates. The first two applicants you speak with meet most of your requirements, but you have the feeling there’s someone out there who’s a better fit for the job. So you’re cautiously optimistic about the third candidate of the day. But when the candidate arrives, you’re taken by surprise. He’s at least 20 years older than the other applicants—in fact, he’s probably in his early fifties.

What do you do? Do you make up your mind that he’s too old to fit in with the team, let alone perform well in a rapid-paced field? Or do you give him the same opportunity as the other candidates?

If you decide the mature worker isn’t a good fit simply because of his age, you could be doing your team and your company a disservice—not to mention the worker himself, of course. Yes, there can be drawbacks to hiring someone who’s older, such as increased healthcare costs or an inability to keep up with technological developments. However, both of these factors depend on the worker. There are plenty of 30-year-old employees who are obese and have diabetes, just like there are plenty of 55-year-old workers who are healthy and free of age-related conditions. At the same time, technological skills can always be taught.

But what’s so important to understand is that mature workers can add considerable value to your team. According to experts, employing a diverse workforce—and that includes workers from different generations—can help your organization gain an edge over the competition. In a diverse team, the individual members all bring distinct insights to specific problems and challenges. This helps broaden the spectrum of possible solutions and innovations.

In addition, mature workers possess years of experience. This has three distinct advantages. First, they have a more comprehensive frame of reference than younger employees, which can be useful when coming up with solutions and strategies. Second, they’ve seen a wide range of situations before and have an extensive toolkit to draw upon. And third, they’re often more confident because they’ve been in the industry for a long time.

Many employers also find that mature workers have great people skills. They entered the workforce before the days of smartphones, tablets, and wearables, and are much more accustomed to face-to-face interaction than many Millennials. At the same time, a lot of mature workers also have extensive networks, as Gwen Moran points out in her Fast Company article titled “Forget Millennials—Why You Should Hire Someone Over 55.” Whether it’s to establish a business relationship with another company or find someone who specializes in a skill you need for a project, these networks can prove very useful.

Hiring older workers can also help you save money in a variety of ways. As Maryalene LaPonsie states in her U.S. News Money article titled “5 Reasons Employers Should Hire More Workers Over Age 50,” mature workers often require little to no training, which reduces their time to productivity by weeks. At the same time, they can help train younger workers. And finally, mature workers are less likely to leave their employer than younger workers. This results in lower turnover and saves on recruitment costs. 

Clearly, a mature worker can add a lot of value to your team. So instead of dismissing someone simply because of his or her age, take the time to find out what skills and knowledge this person could offer to make your team stronger and more successful.

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Sources:

http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2015/09/18/5-reasons-employers-should-hire-more-workers-over-age-50

http://www.fastcompany.com/3058869/forget-millennials-why-you-should-hire-someone-over-55