Address the talent shortage by attracting "unretiring" older workers

Address the talent shortage by attracting "unretiring" older workers

In today's competitive landscape, companies of all sizes and across various industries are grappling with a talent shortage. This has made it increasingly challenging for organizations to identify, attract, and retain skilled and qualified employees for their vacant positions. The talent shortage is attributable to several factors, including the early retirement of baby boomers, the decline of skilled labor positions, and an increase in the number of workers leaving the workforce for self-employment.

As an employer, you may wonder what steps you can take to weather this talent shortage. One potential solution is to attract older workers who have "unretired" back into the workforce. These seasoned professionals bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, making them a valuable asset to businesses. Moreover, they offer many benefits, including a strong work ethic, reliability, and a commitment to quality.

What is unretirement?

Unretirement is a term used to describe the phenomenon of retired employees who have either returned or are interested in returning to the workforce. Although the phrase may be new to some, it is a concept that is gaining traction as people live longer and healthier lives. Two recent studies found that as many as one in six retirees are considering retiring, with nearly 66% of recent retirees considering returning to the workforce. 

As a result, unretirement is becoming increasingly common. While some retirees may need to supplement their retirement income, others miss the structure and social interaction work provides. There are also those older workers looking to boost their income before they tap into their retirement funds, hoping to have a larger nest egg. Although some choose to re-enter the workforce in their previous industry, others opt for less demanding, alternative positions.

The benefits of hiring unretired older workers

Hiring unretired older workers offers many advantages to organizations. With years of experience in their fields, these individuals bring a unique set of skills and expertise to the table, which can be very helpful to businesses coping with the talent shortage. More specifically, unretired older workers bring with them:

  • Experience: Unretired older workers typically have a wealth of experience and knowledge.
  • Work ethic: They are often highly motivated, reliable, and committed.
  • Mentoring: They can serve as mentors and coaches for younger workers, providing knowledge, skills, guidance, and support.  
  • Stability: Unretired older workers are often more stable and less likely to change jobs frequently.
  • Diversity: They add to a company's diversity and bring different perspectives and ideas to the table, facilitating innovation and creativity.
  • Loyalty and reliability: Older workers are more likely to be loyal, committed, and reliable employees.

“Hiring unretired older workers offers many advantages to organizations. With years of experience in their fields, they bring unique skills and expertise to the table.”

7 tips for attracting unretiring older workers

As a business seeking to hire unretired older workers, it's crucial to acknowledge the immense value these individuals can bring to your organization. By tailoring your recruitment and retention plans to target older workers, your company can benefit from their unique skill sets and experience, ultimately enhancing overall performance. You can implement several measures to make your company more appealing to these individuals. These seven tips can help you tap into the talent pool only older workers can provide:

Instead of focusing on age, consider what older workers can contribute

Recognizing the value senior employees can bring to a business is essential. Rather than focusing on their age, consider the experience and knowledge they have acquired throughout their careers. This breadth of experience can be very beneficial, as it will allow senior employees to mentor less experienced employees, provide a new perspective, and make significant contributions to the business in other ways, such as offering better insight for better decision-making and problem-solving.

Make your workplace culture age inclusive

Ensure that older employees are not subjected to any form of discrimination at your company and that the culture is inclusive of all age groups. Fostering an intergenerational workforce, mentorship, and reverse mentoring can encourage a productive and collaborative work environment and knowledge- and skill-sharing between generations. Remember to provide age-friendly accommodations, such as ergonomic chairs and accessible restrooms. This can lead to a sense of belonging, increased innovation, and creativity within your organization.

Provide opportunities for learning and development 

Ongoing training and development opportunities can help unretiring older workers stay current with emerging technologies and market trends, ensuring they remain essential assets to the company's success. Online courses, workshops, mentorship programs, and conferences are just a few examples of the various formats these opportunities can take. 

Provide flexible working arrangements 

You can satisfy older workers' needs and continue to gain from their expertise by providing flexible work options, such as part-time, remote, or hybrid. Employees prefer flexible work arrangements because they allow them to balance their work and personal obligations. Flexible working arrangements have been shown to result in increased productivity, job satisfaction, and a better work-life balance.

Adapt your interview process to accommodate older workers

Older workers have different needs and expectations than their younger counterparts, so it's important to adjust your approach during the interview process to cater to these needs. Offering older workers accommodations and accessibility tools to help with mobility or communication, such as frequent breaks during the process, screen reading, or American Sign Language translation, can make a positive impression on unretired candidates. It also increases your chances of hiring a skilled and experienced employee.

Revisit your job descriptions, compensation and benefits packages, and perks offered 

Updating job descriptions, compensation and benefits packages, and perk offerings is important to make your company appealing to older workers. Make sure your company's website and job postings are accessible and appealing to older workers so they can easily find your company's website and job postings. Offering resources for retirement planning, access to wellness programs, and improved health care and commuter benefits are a few things that can enhance your appeal to this demographic. 

Make it clear that you are willing to hire older workers 

Demonstrate your company's willingness to hire older workers in your recruitment and marketing materials. Make information about your company, such as compensation, vacancies, culture, and content, available through your offline and online channels. As older workers are frequently online, post job openings on your website, any relevant job boards, and social media. You can also contact older workers through alumni  associations, professional associations, local job fairs, and other events.

Manage the talent shortage by embracing unretired older workers

Embracing unretirement can be a win-win situation for employers and employees. Senior employees can be valuable contributors to the workforce, increasing diversity and helping to weather the talent shortage. Returning to the workforce also allows retirees to stay engaged and fulfilled in their later years. While it's true that older workers have unique considerations, benefits, and challenges, there will undoubtedly be more older workers moving into this "unretirement" lifestyle, representing a vast untapped talent pool for employers to draw from. 

There's no better time than now to reexamine your recruitment and candidate sources methods to ensure they're the best fit for your business moving forward. You can benefit from older workers' experience and knowledge by implementing these strategies. These individuals can help you build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, enabling you to handle labor shifts better and ensure the success of your business.

Related advice: Recruiting and retaining older workers

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