Why and how to retain older employees

Attraction and retention is normally focused on the younger set, are we missing a cohort of employees that could benefit your organization?

I’m talking about older employees, those close to or stepping out of retirement. It’s estimated that by 2025, 25% of workers in the U.S. will be older than 55. That is a significant segment of the population, and they deserve our attention.

Why you should retain older employees

There are countless reasons why older employees are valuable to the workplace. Many of the skills they have were built throughout a period of time. Some highlights include:

  • Decision making. Older employees are well practiced at this point in their career. They have honed their critical thinking skills and can make judgment calls without the noise of overthinking.
  • Loyalty and stability. This age group is much more settled, so it is unlikely they are going to seek the next hot career move. You can count on this group to show up and consistently give their best. This display of loyalty and stability is great for your company culture.
  • Strong network. Seasoned employees know a lot of people and have built strong relationships throughout their career.
  • Leadership. The value of leadership from years of practice is priceless. These skills were built at a time when communication was face-to-face. Their people skills can be a great asset.
  • Mentorship. Younger workers can benefit from an older mentor and older employees can benefit from a younger perspective, especially when dealing with technology. This is an opportunity to introduce training and development programs on mentorship.

How to retain older employees

  • Flexible schedules. Living a balanced life at this point in their lives is important. Offering a flexible schedule creates an atmosphere of trust and respect.
  • Flexible benefits. Make sure the benefits you offer employees at this stage in their life is a good fit. Gym membership, professional association fees, training, flexible spending accounts, long-term care or disability insurance. Think outside the box.
  • Give them projects they deserve. Older employees have skill sets that have been sharpened during a longer period of time than others on the team. Keep older employees engaged with projects that fit their background and expertise.
  • Add age diversity to your DEI initiatives. Make your organization a place that values a variety of different perspectives, backgrounds, and age groups.
  • Employees of all ages provide value. As the challenge for talent continues, it is important to appreciate employees at the higher age bracket who can create a positive impact on your organization. Making adjustments that show you care about their needs can make all the difference.