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10 Reasons to Hire Experienced Professionals Over 50
They are not old, they have just lived a long time.
They have graduated from the University of Life and bring to the table their experience, knowledge, motivation, and their many innate and learned skills. Their seasoned minds and brains are centers of excellence.
For them procrastination is not an option –they simply do not have time for it.
They see goals as dreams with a deadline, and want to be evaluated on the basis of skills and performance not on the basis of their age.
They are experienced professionals aged 50 and over. And here are 10 reasons why you should think about hiring them.
1. Communication and people skills
Older workers have participated in the birth of what has now become the fast paced and ever-changing technology of today. Over the years they have embraced, and actively engaged in, using all of its tools, upgrades and advancements, which have turned the world into a global village. They are the living link between what was, what is, and what can be.
Exposure to, and interaction with, many different cultures and with people from all walks of life, gives them the enhanced ability to appreciate and recognize potential in others and to utilize resources for maximum results. They usually have stronger face-to-face communication skills than their younger colleagues, who are often very focused on online social networking. Experienced professionals know that good communication on all levels is essential for creating, developing and maintaining all types of relationships in the workplace and in the business world. It is particularly relevant when there is a need to negotiate or to manage difficult situations.
People over 50 often have the discipline and foresight not to verbalize every thought that comes into their head and to recognize when something is light on facts and heavy on speculation. Generally, they speak with experience and without fear of consequence, pay attention to their instincts, and know the benefits of walking across the bridge rather than around the lake (i.e., getting to the point).
2. Employment History
Mature employees have a verifiable work history, and can usually easily demonstrate skills sets and track records in performance and delivery, thereby reducing risk for employers. Their ethical, personal and professional values and principles have been established. They also often require a minimum investment of time, money, or resources for training. What they know, who they are, and what they are still capable of achieving is a combination of things they have learned and the life they have lived.
Their professional lives are no longer a rehearsal: they have lived it, loved it, sometimes maybe hated it a little, but they never stopped learning and growing their knowledge. The ability to manage change, work on their own initiative and under pressure is now part of their DNA. They know exactly what they want to do and are focused on getting the job done –professional targets and directions are defined. What they promise they deliver. They know how to manage the fear factor, fear of failure, which can curtail or paralyze innovation or progress.
4. Knowledge sharing
Having learned from experience, they are well placed to evaluate opportunities and risks and deliver innovative new solutions to challenges. They are capable of seeing the big picture and are well equipped to handle difficult, stressful, time sensitive and challenging issues and situations. Mature workers are not shy or insecure about sharing what they know, and they have the maturity to put it all into perspective. They are comfortable with, and confident in, speaking up and getting their point across when it counts most. Their wisdom and knowledge come not only from what they learned from their own mistakes, but also what they learned from the mistakes others have made. The secret is that they are able to turn mistakes into learning moments and opportunities.
5. Loyal and Reliable
Mature workers are typically more satisfied with their jobs. They also tend to stay longer, as they are not usually looking for the next more exciting role or opportunity like younger workers.
They are reliable, and less likely to suffer “weekend” sickness on Fridays and Mondays. That is not to say younger workers are all unreliable, not committed or un-professional: the young person of today will be an older experienced person one day as well! However, business owners and mature workers know that it is very difficult to manage or grow a business if one cannot rely on staff to turn up for work every day, and weekend activities should not be an excuse.
This comes from years of life and work experiences, culminating in workers who are “shock-proof” and have the skills to manage stress on all levels, enabling them to deal with difficult situations and defuse many forms of conflict. With their maturity and experiences, their thought processes are generally structured, practical, rational and logical which is critical for problem solving and decision making.
Some professional situations can be compared with walking through a minefield. Maturity and experience have allowed them to master the art of successfully navigating their way through the minefield of office politics, and difficult or hostile work environments. Sometimes the facts can be clear, but a person’s attitude or directive can be a complete mystery.
Mature workers have also mastered the art of dealing with everyday frustrations and difficulties in an effective, professional and productive manner. Key to this is not allowing other people’s negativity to take up space in their heads or to infect them with their anxieties. They have lived through rapidly evolving and volatile times and generally have a very balanced, well rounded and informed view of the world and how it works.
7. Networking power
Since they have been in the workforce longer, they will have cultivated and maintained a vast number of important relationships and contacts along the way. This is a great advantage when they are required to create or develop business or when required to effect change and move things forward.
8. Organisational skills
Mature employees usually have strong organizational skills and can “hit the ground running” as they are already familiar with what they should be doing based on their previous experiences. This is significant: roughly a million hours of work each year is lost due to disorganization within the workplace. Experienced workers are skilled at analyzing procedures and finding ways to improve or streamline them, rather than re-inventing the wheel. Taking the lead, taking on new responsibilities, or dealing with challenges and change is not an issue for them. Over time, they most likely have established a good balance between their work and personal lives.
9. Setting an example
Mature workers make excellent mentors and role models, which makes training other employees easier and less costly. They have the knowledge and ability to guide, advise, and train junior and new colleagues on best practices; and to help them to develop, to know their value, and to recognize their potential. Mature professionals promote a positive, supportive and constructive attitude. They have learned the distinct difference between managing people and bullying people. And that people are more productive when incorporated into a team, appreciated for their efforts, and empowered, rather than left to their own devices and treated as a spare tool. They know the importance of building on a person’s strengths and working with them to eliminate or minimize the effects of their weaknesses.
10. Work ethic
Mature workers are reliable and have a strong work ethic. They take pride in what they do, are flexible, can be extremely hard working and want to do things the ‘right’ way. The importance and benefits of their professional knowledge and experiences, challenges faced, and lessons learned cannot be underestimated. They are resilient and resourceful, and have a wealth of in-depth experience and knowledge to draw on and to pass on. Drama and gossip are things they watch on TV or read about in magazines, not something they want a starring role in at the work place.
They have learned that it is much better to under-promise and over-deliver rather than the other way round, to give people more than they expect and to do it with good grace. They know that it is difficult, but not impossible, to find reason within unreasonable acts, and that everything has a purpose whether one is capable of understanding it or not. Mature workers have learned that the best decisions can fundamentally be made based on what one does not want rather than what one wants. Above all, they have an enhanced respect and appreciation for the beauty, magic and wonder of nature and play their part in trying to ensure it is preserved for future generations.
For these employees, experience has taught them that:
- To be efficient and effective, they have to be flexible, know what is important, how to compromise, how to prioritize, and how to say no.
- Some people are born to stand out, so why should they try to fit in?
- Power and influence should always be used to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
- The most defining moments in life are never planned.
- Our lives are a sum total of all of our experiences –both good and bad.
Great achievement involves great risk. However, employing a mature, experienced professional person is one of the most cost effective and least risky decisions an employer may ever make.
Written by Caroline Tully, with the participation of Betty Aldi, Gilbert Hauser and Saeed Mokbil.