How to Retain Older Employees for Your Business

Older businessman

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, nearly 25% of the US workforce will turn 55 by 2018. This means that most of these people will be turning sixty and potentially retiring by 2023. Some may quit working even earlier.

No matter how much skill or talent a new recruit possesses, it is impossible to replace the wisdom and experience accrued by a seasoned employee.  A larger firm might be able to absorb the loss of an experienced employee, but it is a huge setback to small and medium-sized businesses when one of their veteran workers decides to call it quits.

Thus, it is imperative that employers try to retain their older employees for as long as possible, at least until they have educated the next generation of workers. Here are some ways you can get these senior employees to stick around your organization for a little while longer:

Be More Flexible

Once older workers reach the traditional retirement age, they are probably looking to relax and break free of their hectic work routine. Offering a more flexible work schedule might provide these individuals with the leisure time they are looking for, and may help keep them interested in working the job for longer.

If possible, allow them to choose their work timing, or provide a work-from-home option. If you have deadlines to meet, you can assign the older workers specific, time-based projects. This way they can finish the work at their own pace (as long as they meet the deadline) and take some time off between projects.

Offer Varied Benefits

As employees grow older, the benefits, rewards, and perks that they would appreciate tend to change. They may no longer be satisfied by a simple increase in salary or a day off every now and then.

You need to provide them with a list of benefits that they can choose from. Be sure to take their opinions into consideration when deciding on the perks you are planning to offer.

Some older employees might decide to leave the job to look after an ailing parent or spouse while others may leave due to their own health conditions. So if you offer a benefit such as healthcare for them and their family, they will be interested in sticking around longer.

Try Phased Retirements

In a phased retirement, you gradually reduce the number of hours that your veteran employees have to work until they finally leave the company. This way, you can get your workers to stay with the organization longer, making it easy for you to transfer their knowledge to the next generation.

Of course, you will have to pay a part-time salary and provide part-time retirement benefits. But you can assign a portion of their work schedule strictly to mentoring other employees, who will eventually be the replacements for these seasoned professionals.

Invest In Training

There’s a misconception that older workers are too stubborn to learn new techniques or change their ways.  However, if you ever invest in training programs for veteran employees, you might be surprised to see just how many of them turn up.

Some older workers decide to leave jobs due to the inability to transfer their skills to the modern era. Direct some of your resources to bring your older workers up to speed with the latest technologies, and you will see them becoming more engaged at the workplace.  In fact, statistics show that older workers are more likely to stay at the same company than their younger counterparts, so why not train them while they’re there?

Your older employees have been in the industry much longer than the young generation. They understand the business well and have extensive experience in the field.  While young employees might bring more passion and excitement, older employees help in providing stability within your workforce.

So, invest your time and energy into retaining these experienced employees for as long as possible, since they are the key to keeping your business successful as well as taking it to the next level.