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  • Richard Blow

Are you having trouble hiring experienced, skilled staff?

Look beyond the traditional labour pools and hiring practices; consider a Grey Haired Guru

The last few years have heralded the quitting trend that just won’t quit. People are switching jobs and industries, moving from traditional to non-traditional roles, retiring early, or starting their own businesses. As a result, there is now a growing gap in labour supply because there simply aren’t enough experienced, skilled employees to fill all the openings. In a global survey of CEOs, availability of skilled talent was cited as one of the top three threats to the growth of their organisation.

People over the age of 55 have potentially another 20 years+ to contribute to the workforce; they are equipped with a variety of unique skills, a wealth of experience and strengths. Many organisations believe that growing mature workforce can help bridge the talent gap created by the shortage of critical skills. Companies in Australia today are seeing the benefits of hiring experienced senior staff, part time, fulltime or on contract (See our blog on: Variable Workers, A Growing Trend in Today’s Workplace). To navigate this new playing field successfully, managers should look beyond traditional labour pools and hiring practices.

It’s high time that businesses reconsider the role and potential of the mature workforce, we call them “Grey Haired Gurus”

Senior staff give an organisation a significant advantage opening up a talent pool that is both wider and deeper. Older workers have wisdom. Wisdom cannot be learnt from books or virtual learning scenarios. It is acquired over time from life experience, knowledge, and tried and tested judgements. Valuable insights, meaningful contributions, and good decision making are some of the benefits.

“It’s simple: if you’re not hiring older talent, you are missing out,” CEO and Managing Director of the Australian HR Institute, Sarah McCann-Bartlett

7 advantages of hiring older, skilled workers

1. Older workers have plenty of skills and experience

Because they have seen more, experienced more and lived longer, mature workers generally tend to know more. The knowledge they’ve acquired can be invaluable to everyone in the workplace, and to clients and customers.

2. They stay in jobs longer and take fewer days off

Australians now enjoy longer, healthier lives, and a growing number continue working long past traditional retirement age. In January 2018, Australians aged 65 and over had a workforce participation rate of 13% (17% for men and 10% for women), compared with 8% in 2006. Mature age workers are less likely to take sick leave and experience work related injuries.

3. They retain valuable business’s knowledge and networks

Knowledge transfer between younger and older employees can help to prevent organisational knowledge loss and contribute to business success. A huge bonus of hiring older workers is that they often have extensive networks. They can draw on these networks to sell your product, develop the team culture, and develop the skill and knowledge of their peers. Their extensive experience means that they know not only the workings of their own department, but how their department or unit interacts with other departments within an organisation.

4. They have a strong work ethic

Work ethic is a difficult thing to quantify, but in general older workers tend to have been raised in an age that demanded longer attention spans and delayed gratification. Older workers know what they are good at and tend to stay focused on doing their job well vs. looking for the next opportunity. The younger generation is more likely to require constant stimulus, immediate feedback, and quick results.

5. The perceived technology gap can be overcome (computers have been around in the workplace since 80’s)

We all live in a digital world encompassing email, smartphones, e-books, virtual assistants and more. The older generation relies on today’s technologies as much as the overall population does. A key strategy for workforces globally is to reskill and upskill their existing workforce, and older workers are equally able to adapt and learn new skills.

6. The best teams are multigenerational

Multigenerational teams have been shown to be better able to innovate and anticipate shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns. There is a strategic business advantage of having employees who reflect the diversity of the customer base, as the Australian population ages.

7. Older workers play a critical role in training the next generation of workers

A 2016 Deloitte study found that millennials were more likely to stick with a company if they had a mentor. Mentoring enhances training programs and represents a valuable and different dynamic for mentees. Younger employees say they learn a variety of skills from older colleagues, including how to manage an increased workload, delegate tasks, and manage time.

How Performance Divers Can Help

Performance Drivers is a locally based, Australian owned and operated SME established in 2000. We provide expert management consultants and interim contractors to public and private sector clients nationally. The services provided by Performance Drivers are supported by our core team of proven business professionals, respectfully called “Grey-Haired Gurus.” Each has demonstrated results in their chosen discipline and operates at the highest ethical and professional standard.

Whether you need advice, have a short-term staffing need, or a complex and evolving project; we will work with you, to provide the professional technical, operational or management expertise you need, to get the work done and rapidly achieve results.



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