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The New Employment Revolution
According to the AARP, more than 10,000 Americans turn age 50 every day. This fast growing demographic is changing the hiring practices of every company in every industry from dot comís to manufacturers. Are you prepared to manage your aging employees? Many small business owners are puzzled on how to manage their aging work force, as well as how to account for the talent drain that ensues when older employees retire. Dispelling common myths about older workers is a necessity in todayís competitive hiring environment, and developing a plan for hiring could be the difference between survival and failure in the next 10 years.
Common Myths about older workers:
- They are resistant to change and new technologies.
Todayís retiree is not of our Grandparentís generation, content to play Bingo and garden. The retiree of the 21st century is attending University and opening small businesses According Time Magazine, 3 out of 4 retirees say they want to continue their education and work as they grow older. This trend creates the opportunity for you, as the employer, to obtain employees with extensive work experience and training at rates you can afford. In a recent experience, I was working with Dan to find him a position as a CNC Programmer. Dan has a certificate in computer programming, as well as a license as a Journeyman Machinist. In addition, he has over 20 years of experience in CAD program development. His resume was impressive, yet it was difficult to find him a permanent placement. Dan is retired, and offers his services as an independent consultant, yet many companies were anxious about training him in to their processes. Without meeting Dan, companies would assume that he would not be open to learning new methods, or be capable of understanding newer technologies. This scenario repeats itself frequently with older workers, but fortunately for Dan, we were able to place him with a Shoreview company where he is currently managing a project to develop more cost effective machining processes. Dan is set to save his company over $300,000 a year once the project is completed. Donít miss out on your Dan because of old assumptions about older workers!
- Older workers are more expensive to employ because of health insurance costs.
While it is true that generally, older employees are more expensive to cover under your health insurance plan, it more accurate to take a look at the whole picture. Hiring costs include more than just insurance. The cost of employee turnover, training expenses, and productivity loss should also be considered. Older employees have a tendency to loyalty, and generally stay in a position once they have been hired. Considering that the cost to replace a current employee is usually at least 50% of that employeeís annual salary, developing an aggressive recruitment plan for employees age 45 and up should be a high priority. Older employees also have extensive work experience that makes it easier, and cheaper to train them into your workforce. Older employees tend to have better attendance, than their younger counterparts, and are more self motivated to exceed expectations. By offering Health Savings Accounts, Long Term Care Insurance, and healthy employee programs, you can reduce your overall spending on health care.
- Older workers do not have the skills necessary to succeed in todayís business environment.
Nothing could be further from the truth! While some skills, such as manual dexterity do tend to decrease with age, other skills, such as verbal communication and organizational ability actually increase. Management is a learned skill, acquired by many years of experience, and isnít something that can be taught. My number one complaint as an HR professional is that many younger workers being hired lack the core competencies of a good employee: Professionalisim, good analytical skills, and business knowledge. These traits are a valuable asset to your company, regardless of the industry, and are abundantly available within the baby boomer generation.
- Older workers are not interested in staying in the workplace.
While this may have been the case for the previous generations or retirees, the Baby Boomer generation has radically changed the reality of retirement. Remember WorldCom, and Enron? What about the recent rash of bankruptcy filings? The recent stock market fall has severely affected retirement income, and bankruptcy filings have left many seniors without the pension plans they relied on to make ends meet. According to the AARP, in 2002, average savings for an American aged 55 is just $25,000. While many polls show that people expect to retire at age 62, the reality of retirement is that most will work, at least part time if they hope to stay above the poverty line. Many of your current employees may not be able, or interested in retiring at age 62, and by offering flexible options, as well as professional retirement advice, you can retain your valuable, highly trained workers. Offering flextime, part-time and job sharing opportunities allow you to take advantage of the growing retiree population, while making the adjustment to retirement easier on your current employees. Offering staged, or gradual retirements will also help ease the strain of replacing your current retiring staff, by allowing your retiring employees to develop mentoring relationships with their replacements.
Advance planning is key, as well as obtaining professional advice for insurance and human resources. Rather than assuming what your employees need, enlist a professional to help you evaluate the reality of your employees retirement expectations, and develop an aggressive plan to recruit older workers. In the very near future, you will be glad you did.
- Ini Augustine SPHR
Ini Augustine is currently a Human Resources Consultant with Pro*Vision Staffing Group, which provides contingent staffing solutions and HR consulting services to businesses in the twin cities. She has over 10 years experience in HR consulting, temporary staffing, and employee benefits management for both small and large businesses. For quality consulting services and seamless staffing solutions, you may contact Ini @
1-866-Staff-84 or 651 644-4490