I read an article the other day that spoke to the value of the ‘older worker’ in a way that clearly makes this point. “The Miracle on the Hudson: The Value of Experienced Workers” written by Julie Gebauer spoke about how a Captain Chesley Sullenberger saved 155 passengers and crew aboard US airways Flight 1549 amazing story about US Airways Flight 1549 and it is highly improbable that a younger pilot would have had the ability to do the same.
Were you aware that the cost of holding onto more experienced workers is the same as or less than brining on someone new? More experienced workers have a slight edge over others in terms of motivations levels; and some of the best innovators in history did their best work past age 65. (Julie Gebauer – “The Miracle on the Hudson”)
According to Merrill Lynch, as many as three quarters of baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964) have no intention of fully retiring. In fact, many retired people are still working in some capacity.
As these are some of the same things that engage other generations, companies should make some adjustments to better engage experienced workers and keep their own “Captain Chesley Sullenberger” on board.
I think it could be a big mistake to write off their experienced workforce. Rather, they should develop way and means of engaging and retaining this important segment of the workforce.
Consider for a moment, that Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals at age 78 and Martha Graham (American dancer and choreogrpaher) performed until she was 75 and choreographed 20 years beyond that! Hardly what I would call ‘used up’.
It’s time for organizations to wake up to the inevitable changes in working patterns that an older population is going to create – in fact – it would be in their best interests to consider retaining high-achieving older employees and allowing them to share their knowledge through mentoring and teaching.