HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

Is It Worth Training Older Employees?

Avoiding potentially offensive clichés about old dogs and new tricks … providing training for older employees can provide a lot of value to employee and employer alike.
Many of these employees have years of valuable experience but could benefit from a bit of brushing up on the latest technologies and techniques used in their industries. And yet, many organizations overlook their older employees when pursuing training initiatives.

Six members of a successful business team working and planning on a laptop and writing down on their notepads

Common Misconceptions

Writing for Forbes, Chris Farrell explains the rationale many employers have for spending less time training employees in their 50s and 60s: “the thinking goes: Why bother training older workers? They’ll retire soon.”
This logic is flawed for a couple of reasons. For one, Farrell notes that older employees want to keep their skills sharp and are more likely to stay around at a job and retire later if they receive relevant training. On the flip side, younger employees are known for job hopping. Quite simply, employers may find that they get more years on the job out of older employees than out of their younger, more transient counterparts.
Including older employees in training programs is hardly a completely novel and untested concept. Farrell cites several examples of major international companies that are already doing just that. These include companies like AT&T, Scripps Health, and Centrica, a British multinational company that removed age limits from its apprenticeship program years ago.

Training is Not Age-Specific

There is certainly a lot of value in training younger employees. But don’t let age be a limiting factor. Explain to managers who think they’re wasting time and money training older employees who are approaching retirement that training can represent a solid investment with attractive return on investment (ROI).
Regardless of age, employees often crave training both to develop new skills and to keep existing skills sharp. Couple that with the job-hopping habits of many younger employees, and it’s very possible that the ROI from training will actually be higher with older employees rather than younger ones.

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