Age-Friendly Workplaces: Benefits of Age Diversity in the Workplace

office workers
This article is contributed by Kelly Smith.

As a result of a longer lifespan and an increase in the average age of retirement, we’re seeing more and more seniors staying in the job market and age diversity is becoming a common feature of the modern workplace.


Despite the common misconceptions against older workers, who are often considered less productive and not as receptive to training as young employees, hiring seniors and creating a diverse work environment has several significant advantages. Here’s an overview of the main benefits of hiring mature workers and promoting age diversity in a workplace.

Experience and Know-How

Over the years of professional activity, mature workers have acquired lots of experience and valuable know-how that companies can benefit from in training its leaders, revamping areas that require industry expertise and reorganizing certain aspects of management.

Work Ethic

Older workers have a really strong work ethic and can potentially drive productivity. They work well in collaborative settings and, in most cases, don’t require as much supervision as their younger colleagues.

Loyalty

Mature workers are simply less likely to change their job, consequently allowing companies to save up on all the costs involved in rising turnover – hiring, training and orienting new staff takes up lots of valuable time and money.

Motivation

It might come as a surprise, but mature workers were in a recent study found to be more motivated to exceed job expectations than young employees. Organizations with engaged workers have a higher chance at exceeding their industry-average revenue growth and reducing their expenses.

Training

Many consider seniors to be not particularly receptive to training, but the truth is that mature workers really appreciate challenging work environments, where they can broaden their knowledge and further their careers. Older workers are eager to develop new skills and are less likely to identify and get discouraged by the barriers they encounter during training.

Consumer Identification

Who can identify better with older customers than a senior worker? Since seniors are more mature emotionally, they’re able to create a deeper relationship with customers – especially those groups that young workers may find difficult to relate to. Research shows that the ability of verbal communication improves with age, so mature workers might really offer a unique talent for customer service.

The Perks of Age Diversity

Through hiring mature workers, companies remain competitive and maintain a varied workforce with different skills and strengths, which will allow them to glide through the predicted major workforce shortage in the near future. While seniors bring experience, young employees have greater potential for driving innovation, so in order to maintain a healthy balance between seasoned practice and dynamic development, companies need both kinds of employees.

Needless to say, age diversity is not only a feature that brings many benefits to the employer, but also to employees – not only professionally, but also on a social and more personal level. Interacting with people coming from different generations impacts the ways in which workers relate to older and younger people in their daily lives, offering a deeper enjoyment and a sense of freshness when working in a group of people with completely different life experiences.

The truth is that in order to make the most from every generation’s knowledge, skills and professional approach, it’s best to offer a mixed work environment. That’s where mature workers are exposed to new ways of thinking and inspired to develop fresh ideas form the existing practice, and younger workers are supported by the skills and know-how of the older generations. In short, each generation provides a completely different quality to the workplace and all of them are equally important in ensuring a company’s lasting success in the industry.

Author Bio: Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and works as a freelance writer.

Image credit:  courtesy of Highways Agency via Flickr

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