The Baby Boomer generation is quickly approaching retirement age, and as a result, the US workforce is faced with losing almost 25 percent of its workforce. However, on the flipside, a struggling economy and shrinking IRA account balances have forced many Boomers to remain in the workforce simply because they cannot retire.
How can you as a business owner be a part of the solution for the Boomer generation as they reach their sunset years? It’s easy: hire them!
Hiring Boomers near retirement may at first give you pause. Why hire someone who is not destined to be a long-term employee? Interestingly, many businesses are hiring more near-retirement employees. In fact, a recent study performed by the HR consultancy firm, Hewitt Associates, shows that 61 percent of US companies have or will establish employment programs that are targeted at near retirement workers. And just under half of respondents claimed to have a “phased retirement” program in place for their employees.
Reasons to Hire Boomers
Why should you hire or retain an employee from the Boomer generation? Here are a few good reasons.
Experience – The number one reason is experience. The Boomer generation has had a full generation of experience that spans through the conservative ’50s, the shaky and revolutionary ’60s, the preppie ’80s, and the progressive ’90s. These are the people who have seen it all. You can expect that their experience in the workplace can certainly benefit your small business.
Courteous and Respectful Service – As the Boomer generation was brought into the mid-20th century, they grew up in a tradition of respect. This was a time when children learned to say “yes sir” and “yes ma’am.” Folks now in their 50s and 60s are experienced in talking to people in a respectful manner, making eye contact, and communicating with results and resolution in mind. Your hires who are near retirement can be your best front line when it comes to your customers.
Fill Staffing Gaps – Many small business owners experience staffing gaps, especially when they run a business that is seasonal, runs in cycles, or has a high turnover rate. Those citizens who are near retirement may be at a point in their career when they can handle part-time and cyclical work as needed by an employer.
How You Can Utilize Boomer Staffing
As you analyze your staffing needs, whether it’s full time, part time, or seasonal, here are a few good ways you can utilize the experience of Boomers near their retirement.
Experienced Managers – Don’t ever discount the benefit of a 50-something, or even 60-something, manager. These men and women have experience through times when they were a changin’. Count on them to lead your employees with wisdom.
Part-Time Staff – Many Boomers are wanting to retire, but cannot fully afford to stop working. Many look for part time or even seasonal staffing to help earn additional income as they wait for full Social Security or other pension benefits to begin. They are fully willing to meet your employment gap needs if you need someone part time each week or even during peak production or sales seasons.
On Call Staff – Many Boomers and near-retirees may not want steady employment, but are satisfied to work “as needed.” Consider putting Boomers and other near-retired workers on the books as staff to call when the demand is needed.
Customer Relations– Consider hiring a worker near retirement to help handle your customer relations. r Wal-Mart is a prime example. Everyone is fond of the “greeters” this retail giant hires who say ‘hello’ to customers walking into the store. They offer a kind smile and a helpful countenance, and they are there to simply point the way to the departments where the big sales are. Consider hiring a Boomer to talk to your customers, not just as a “greeter,” but as someone who asks them survey questions that can help improve your business. Or a boomer could be someone who handles incoming customer service calls.
Give consideration to those close to retirement as a way to help your employment needs. Not only do you get the benefit of staffing, but you’ll also benefit from the experience from these wise workers.