Why your company needs mature workers

One HR expert outlines how – and why – HR professionals should strive to engage older employees in their workforce.

Why your company needs mature workers
A report released this year by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation offered some insights into the strategic approach to engaging older workers.

It was suggested that strategically-oriented HR professionals address the following questions:
  • What skills do we need to achieve our goals for the next five years or so?
  • What skills do we have on board to achieve this?
  • What will our pipeline realistically deliver (minus attrition)?
  • How could mature workers serve our long-term goals?
  • How do we effectively manage knowledge transfer?
Gary Taylor, a registered master HR practitioner with the South African Board for People Practice and former vice president of the Institute of People Management, offered some tips for approaching these issues strategically.

He suggested implementing one or more of the following to attract and retain older workers:
  1. Flexible work arrangements
  2. Training and development opportunities
  3. Knowledge management and transfer
“The smarter employers can be seen to spend thought on what it is that they need from their older generations, and are putting in place planned initiatives to harvest the experience and capacity they need to meet the challenges of tomorrow,” Taylor said.

“The approach of these employers is to find solutions which make good business sense, and which seek to align the old and the new, as opposed to a choice between which generation to support.”

The benefits of engaging mature age workers

Knowledge: Older workers have often accumulated a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills during their time in the workforce

Desirable traits: Generally, mature workers are highly dependable and committed with more life experience and wisdom

Established networks and external experiences: They have assets which also add value to business

Workplace training and mentoring: Mature age workers’ wealth of knowledge and experience are valuable resources in workplace training and mentoring programs, helping businesses save costs on staff development and knowledge transfer

Matching profiles with customer base: As the population ages, mature age employees will increasingly reflect the profiles of your customer base, allowing the, to better empathise with and meet the needs of your customers

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