The Undervalued Mojo of Employing Seniors

Why age and experience matter as much as youth and strength.

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Would you hire an employee over 70? If not, you are missing the proverbial boat! Older employees who are a good fit for your company bring the benefit of wisdom, a lifetime of decision-making and a passion to be of service.

Seniors can bring people together in unexpected ways, creating camaraderie among teams while inspiring other seniors to do business with you. More life experience, with the right fit, can offer your company an employee who loves and appreciates the value of life and living in the present. They offer unique perspectives on what is and isn’t important in the big scheme of things.

I’ve had employees as young as 15 (working on a permit). At the same time I had an employee over 70. The balance was fabulous. Both ages were highly energetic, positive, intelligent and loved to work. Both were physically strong enough to meet the demands of retail stores receiving multiple pallets of merchandise daily. One was swimming in hormones and expectations, while the other lived each day as it came, not getting bent out of shape over the small stuff.

If you want a diverse workplace environment, with employees of varying race and age, you are ahead of your competition. I too carried the erroneous mindset of youth over experience. I needed to get some experience of my own before I could appreciate the value of diversity in hiring.

Here are a few of the many benefits of hiring seniors who are the right fit for your business:

  1. Seniors bring maturity to your workplace. In our American culture where youth and beauty trumps age and knowledge, many of us miss the tremendous value of deep maturity that can only come with age and life experience.
  2. Youthfulness without immaturity is found in our older generations. Seniors understand and appreciate the value of life, and usually have a desire to try new things. Older employees lack the fear of making mistakes, so often seen in the young, who live in a social media-saturated world of über perfectionism.
  3. Seniors are appreciative of the employment opportunity, not for a short time, but over the long haul. They understand sacrifice, have usually gone through the fires of loss and pain and, being older, have most certainly been victims of discrimination in a society where youth rules.
  4. Joy is the most undervalued commodity in most businesses, including small, locally owned ventures. When I work, I want to be happy. I love to surround myself with positive, joyful people. As an entrepreneur, I found seniors to be a tremendous source of joy! The best thing about emotional assets are their ability to spread throughout your business or company.
  5. Seniors bring a wealth of experience and human connections. Senior employees often have an exemplary work history, rife with healthy, happy relationships, developed while living a life of service, be it in locally owned retailers or large corporations. Since many of us stay in the same category (such as retail) of our past work experiences, there will be customer crossover. The goodwill developed while helping a young mother find quality clothing for her baby will carry over when the same mom, a few years later, comes into your store to find healthy food options for her beloved pet and finds the wonderful woman from Gymboree now working for your natural pet food market. The new customer is automatically comforted and trusts your company, based on her previous relationship with your senior employee.

Employers provide senior employees many invaluable benefits in return for what they’ve brought to us.

  1. When hiring a senior, we provide them with a sense of being valued. In our disposable culture, we often overlook the needs of others when we hire, because we are too busy thinking about our own. The best hiring decisions are made when both employee and employer benefit in a tangible way.
  2. Continued employment past retirement age decreases depression. We are social animals. As we age beyond 55+, many times seniors become reclusive, isolated from the very world they live in. Employing senior workers provides a connection with the outside world. The ensuing relationships built keep senior engaged while fighting off loneliness and depression.
  3. I don’t know anyone who has not, at one time or another, searched for significance in her life and the world around her. We all want a life made up of meaningful experiences. Often, a large part of our identity comes from our careers or the work we do. Hiring senior employees give meaning and purpose to their lives.
  4. Validation is a recognition or affirmation that a person, or their feelings or opinions, [and experience] are valid or worthwhile, according to Safari’s integrated dictionary. When we acknowledge, appreciate and put to use a senior’s skills in a work setting, everyone is validated. You, for showing compassion and diversity in hiring, and the senior employee, whose recognized gifts and talents are put to good use when employed!
  5. When hiring senior employees in entrepreneurial businesses, the entrepreneur can gain knowledge from the relationship and understanding of how business was done in the past. The senior receives the tremendous gift of being relevant in a society they feel less and less a part of. And let’s face it, old-school skills still rock!

The more an employer looks at the benefits, the better they become. Younger workers can teach and share with seniors the benefits of new technology, passion for life, and boundless energy. Younger workers have a tremendous motivation that dovetails beautifully with what our seniors can teach them, such as respect, good decision making, compassion, empathy, and loyalty.

According to an NCOA Face Sheet, “as the population ages, older Americans will play an increasingly important role in our economy and America’s leadership in the world marketplace. By 2019, over 40% of Americans aged 55+ will be employed, making up over 25% of the U.S. labor force. The Committee on Economic Development indicates that employers rate older workers high on characteristics such as judgment, commitment to quality, attendance, and punctuality.”

Seniors have decade after decade of experience and perspective. They are often powerful teachers to younger generations who’ve never known a world without smartphones, Internet and YouTube.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, discouraged mature workers are not looking for work because they believe that none is available, employers will find them too old, they lack the necessary schooling/training, or they face other types of discrimination.

By relegating seniors to a passive role in our American society, younger people aren’t taught to respect or value older employees. The latter is too often deemed irrelevant, robbing them of any opportunity to contribute to society. This needs to change! It can, today. When you hire seniors, you can actually help change the world, one fulfilled life at a time.

Robin Aldrich is the author of Bootstrapped! Creating a Small Business on a Budget. Robin founded the Boomerang Business Project in 2015 to help other small businesses thrive through personal and professional development.

For more info, please visit Robin’s website!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my work. I wish you a blessed and prosperous day! ~ R.

Originally published at

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