HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

Training Older Workers Part I—Why They're Worth Your Investment

With so much talk about the ascent of Millennials and Generation Z in the workplace, it can be easy to overlook the potential inherent in a company’s older workers. That includes not just Generation X (sorry, Gen Xers, but some of you are getting into your 50s) and Baby Boomers but even the Silent Generation, those born between 1928 and 1945.
Keep in mind that while younger workers, at face value, may seem to represent longer tenure with your organization, this cohort also is notorious for job hopping relative to their older counterparts. Just because one employee has more working years remaining than another doesn’t mean he or she will spend those years at your organization.

Younger Workers Are More Transient

Even as Millennials and Generation Z make up an increasingly large percentage of the workforce, employers should be cognizant of the fact that we are in a very tight labor market, with the unemployment rate hovering just above 4%. That means that even though younger workers have the potential to offer more years of service to a company, savvy employers will take advantage of every possible resource they can, especially their older workers.

Benefits of Training Older Workers

As Joe Humphries writes for Industrial Distribution, “Older workers can get lost in the shuffle when it comes to job training and placement. The longer a worker has been on the job, the more likely he or she will end up just another cog in the machine. Retraining older workers can give them a sense of purpose. It can help them understand that they haven’t been forgotten about. It can also help them pass ‘best practices’ on to other employees.”
Many employers tend to overlook their older staff when it comes to employee training. But there are a number of reasons this is a mistake. For one, it passes over a large segment of the workforce. Additionally, it can reduce the morale of this group and help reinforce negative behaviors in younger employees by setting a bad example. Hopefully we’ve made the case for training your older employees. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll look at some strategies to do that training most effectively.

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