Labor Shortage? Hire Old People

Labor Shortage? Hire Old People
– by Coach Colle’s Office

Colle bias reveal: I am an older gent. Many of my clients are also older, meaning over 45, and I’m drawing from over three decades of executive coaching experience; older is a better value proposition.

When you have openings and want to shorten the transition time and begin adding value to your organization faster, hire older people.

Coach’s Note: I seldom write for HR or hiring managers because my clientele is on the other side of the employment fence’s demographic. However, with the flurry of layoffs, and low unemployment records, here is my gift to that underrated group of people tasked with finding warm bodies to fill slots.

Here are some of the key benefits for hiring older people:

    • They have established work habits and accept routines.
    • They have refined listening skills.
    • Older employees require less training in non-technical areas; plus, they know how to act in public.
    • HR is hiring free trainers for their younger employees.
    • Older employees may have rusty technology skills, but they can quickly polish them.

Now, let’s look at the downside for hiring older people:

    • Older people may be a bit set in their ways.
    • They may be slower to respond to encouragement; they may not believe you.
    • Or be less willing to take BS from stupid peers or managers; plus, they can be sneaky.
    • They could also have health or mobility issues that require departmental flexibility to accommodate them.

He’s a few of the usual HR excuses for not hiring older people are:

    • Older employees are expensive, and the company may need to pay them more (not necessarily so).
    • They may not stay as long (no statistics or evidence to prove this).
    • Their orthopedic or other health-related issues may not be as good as younger employees (aging sucks, have some compassion).
    • They may have more family obligations (stuff happens).
    • Their training takes longer and may require ongoing questions and answers (or not).

All these issues have a fraction of validity, but dealing with applicants on their value and potential contributions allows HR to create an experienced labor pool based on a balance of value vs cost. How can HR justify the hiring of this demographic?

Hiring an older person (between 50 to over 70) does require a willingness to take risks, and ideally, they should the interviewer must also have excellent interview skills.

    • The interviewer needs to share (upfront) the downside to the job/position.
    • They should ask for relevant experience (may not be recent).
    • They may decide to invite several of the team that the person will work with to help decide if the applicant is a fit for their department.
    • Better yet, have the team interview them, or have the team screen the entire list of applicants to find the best fit for them.

For more help in this delicate task, contact us to gain more insight, strategies, tactics, and support.