Is Your Workforce Reaping the Benefits of Mature Employees?

78653836During the downturn many employers trimmed their workforce – with middle management taking a significant hit – and, as a result, are now operating at capacity. So, as vacancies arise due to churn, or as companies look to return to growth trajectories, it’s more important than ever that new hires are able to join with a minimal learning curve. With employed, passive candidates so difficult to attract, one viable but often overlooked solution, is looking toward non-traditional, more mature hires.

First, consider the fact that our working lives are longer than they have ever been. Coupled with this fact, workers are more fluid with their career paths than ever before. Gone are the days of one job, one company, or even one career.

As a result, it’s increasingly common to see people making fairly significantly shifts with their career paths. These are often people who forged respectable careers, but whose priorities and passions have come into focus as they’ve matured and are looking to make a change. This is a talent pool, as such, that is highly motivated and driven by genuine passion– an attribute that fuels motivation, success, and helps to inspire fellow workers.

And while mature workers making a career shift may lack some sector-specific knowledge, they often more than compensate for this by the softer skills they’ve cultivated throughout their lives: problem solving, coping with stress, multitasking and communications. More mature workers can also serve as brilliant mentors for junior workers who are often highly ambitious but can benefit from guidance when it comes to work prioritisation. Gen Y workers for example, have seen CEOs of global companies in their 20s, which fuels their ambition. This is an admirable quality, of course, but one that can be channeled better with the proper mentorship that a mature worker can provide.

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It’s also worth noting that a workplace can be more diverse when it uses a range of different ages, cultural backgrounds, ethnic groups, experience levels and personalities. Life is characterised by diversity, not uniformity and having diversity within a team allows it to better appreciate a wider range of customer and client needs. For the first time we have four different generations in the workplace and companies that cultivate diverse teams that can benefit from a variety of perspectives and skills.

In terms of concrete steps for hiring managers, a commitment to being open-minded in terms of the years-of-experience window cited in job ads can help ensure you’re not discouraging non-traditional applicants. After all, candidates may appear overqualified in terms of their years working, but are willing to take a step back in terms of title or salary to start afresh in a new sector or industry. Paying close attention to cover letters and mission statements can also shed light into motivators driving experienced workers for roles not necessarily consummate with their years of experience, and these are the people worth spending some time on.

The war for talent will continue to heat up, and ensuring a robust talent pipeline will be a key competitive differentiator. Employers therefore must be innovative and creative with their recruitment and retention efforts – and I would argue that a focus on employer branding, along with the effective utilization of multiple talent streams, form the bedrock of any success hiring strategy. After all, modern day challenges call for modern day solutions.

MORE: Connect older and younger workers

Alan Townsend

Alan Townsend
Alan Townsend is senior vice president for sales readiness and business operations at Monster, Europe.

Alan Townsend

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