Senior citizen employees are some of the most valuable people any company holds. Recent statistics show that the number of senior citizens remaining in employment is increasing, with CNBC noting that older workers are the fastest-growing labor pool in America. The employment of senior citizens poses specific questions to continuity planning, as the benefits of added experience in the workplace must be balanced against longer-term retraining and recruitment plans.
Harnessing the Benefits
Senior citizens working in your business should, first and foremost, be seen as a benefit. Older workers are often well motivated as well as physically and mentally healthy, putting them in a prime position to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of workers. Furthermore, senior citizen workers tend to be more loyal, according to research conducted by Kellogg Insight at Northwestern University. 76% of older employees stay with their company for over five years; this offers invaluable structure to your business in forward planning, eliminating risk arising from employee turnover. Ultimately, senior citizens can provide a strong and sustainable link to the new generation of workers, improving the level of retention in your business and ensuring there are no gaps in the efficiency or production levels you are able to create.
Tailoring Benefits Packages
Employee turnover and the potential for sudden shortages in labor and skills form part of any detailed continuity plan. However, having senior citizens in the workforce brings with it a unique set of challenges, largely tended towards health; as the CDC notes, almost a quarter of senior citizens report fair or poor health concerns. The business can address this by tailoring benefits and insurance packages to the older section of the workforce. This will help to embed a strong culture of good health and awareness, and reduce the chance of serious shortage of labor that can lead to continuity issues moving forward.
Risks Brought By an Older Workforce
With the notable exception of computer science industries, senior citizens can be liable to bring specific knowledge-based risks with them, just as all age groups can have specific weaknesses. Of note are risks relating to information technology. Uptake of digital technology among seniors remains low; according to senior citizen advocates No Isolation, up to 77% of seniors state that they would require additional learning to be fully comfortable with using modern digital technology. This clashes with the business continuity focus on cybersecurity, one of the most important risks to thoroughly assess in modern planning. Businesses can adjust by providing thorough and up-to-date IT training at all stages of work.
Senior citizens offer invaluable experience and the ability to provide seamless training to new hires, meaning the business often never falls into a skills or labor gap between generations of workers. However, senior workers do bring a particular set of priorities with them that need to be addressed carefully to avoid issues. Of note are health problems, which are more prevalent in older age demographics, and problems resulting from a lack of IT skills.