There’s no way around it — the American workforce is aging. In fact, this is such a major issue that the AARP publishes an annual list of those companies that do the best job with supporting senior workers. Such companies have these common characteristics:
- Help older workers adjust to the fact they might be managed by employees 20 years or more their junior.
- Tap into their wisdom and share it.
- Realize that senior workers like flexibility as much as working parents and others do.
- Place these workers in a mentoring position and give them a junior employee to mentor them on subjects such as technology and marketing trends.
- Invest in ergonomics that can make their jobs less tiring.
- Reconsider mandatory retirement programs.
- Think long term — their older employees do!
Older Americans want to work longer and many of them have to. Employers need dedicated and loyal workers willing to stick around for a while. If properly managed, this can be a win/win solution for all involved.
Caveat: A recent Jury Verdict Research Report reported three age discrimination verdicts in the amounts of $120,000, $120,000, and $500,000. That does not include the time, cost, and emotional investment associated with putting up the defense. When it comes to older workers, be careful not to step on the Age Discrimination and Employment Act landmine; realize that at times it might be cheaper to keep them, even if they’re not performing up to standard.