Valuing older workers

For years, older workers have been the first to be let go and the last to be hired when times are tight. Now, more employers are waking up to the fact that employing older workers is good business. A great example is Borders, one of AARP’s featured employers, which more than tripled its percentage of older workers between 1998 and 2005.
After noticing that half of Borders’ customers are over 50, the firm reasoned that the best way to increase its market share was to stress personal service and to hire employees who could relate better to its customer base. Some results of this are:
  • Turnover among workers over 50 is 10 times less than those under 30, which translates to an overall 30 percent reduction since the intentional recruitment of older employees began.
  • Reduced turnover costs and more consistent service naturally lead to increased profits.
  • Priceless good will results from older workers’ work values and their passion to be connected to the community.
Stories like this are getting attention, inspiring other employers to embrace older employees. Seniors are also being recognized as being just as tech-savvy as youth when it comes to utilizing technology on the job. All this leads to a growing awareness that older workers are critical to the nation’s economic health, particularly in an expanding service economy. When customers want service, they want experience, dependability and good manners. Seniors offer these gifts in abundance.
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