Focus on HR - Senior Workers are in HIgh Demand

By Hedley Lawson
There is a reason people say, “With age comes wisdom.” It is true. Not only do individuals want to remain active in their later years, but employers are actively recruiting employees over 50 years of age to lead the way for their organizations. In the past, some employers have shied away from hiring and retaining senior workers. There are misconceptions senior workers are not as technologically skilled or mentally alert as younger workers, and that they are not as healthy as their younger counterparts. However, today’s “Baby Boomers” are disproving these notions everyday and are proving to be a valuable asset for organizations.

So what are some of the advantages of employing senior workers? More employers are discovering senior workers help solve talent shortages, add new dimension to the organization and curb turnover costs. This is as true in optical labs as in any other business. Below are other notable benefits of hiring and retaining senior workers.

Experience—Senior workers usually have extensive career and life experience to draw from.

Dependable—Senior workers may be less likely to call in sick than younger employees.

Motivation—Senior workers are often more motivated to exceed job expectations than their younger counterparts.

Productive—According to a study from Towers Perrin, a human resources consulting firm, the high productivity rate of senior workers has led to increased cost efficiencies for employers.

Here are some tips for your lab when employing senior workers.

Hiring and retaining senior workers as part of a diverse workplace is a worthwhile goal for all employers. However, what attracts and keeps younger workers at your lab may not be the same for senior workers. As a result, you may want to tailor your recruitment, training and benefit programs for senior workers.

Below are several approaches to help you meet senior workers’ needs and interests.

1. Create an age-friendly workplace. Treat all employees with the same respect. Correct any rumors that your lab does not hire senior workers or treat them well.

2. Provide flexible schedules. Consider allowing employees to work as long as they want to without forcing them to retire. You may also want to allow them to set their own hours.

3. Give employees the opportunity to learn something new. Offer training opportunities to senior workers that help them learn new skills specific to your lab.

4. Offer competitive health care benefits. Receiving health benefits is a key incentive for senior workers to continue working.

5. Ask senior workers for suggestions on how to avoid age barriers. Seek input from your employees for ideas on how to improve employee relations for your entire workforce regardless of the age of your employees.

As optical labs continue to find challenges in recruiting and retaining exceptional talent, looking for and capitalizing in “Hidden Labor Markets,” like employing senior workers, can make a big difference in providing consistent customer service without unnecessary turnover, and exceptional customer satisfaction that brings with it greater customer loyalty.

Hedley Lawson is a staff writer for Vision Monday and contributing editor for Business Essentials. He can be reached at hlawson@alignedgrowth.com

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Labtalk May/June 2018