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Risk Management

Identifying the Aging Workforce: Embracing the Talent of Mature Employees

The aging population in the United States is on a steady incline. As people get older, it could mean significant implications for the workforce. With a wealth of experience, a tenured staff can be of value to virtually any organization. Our experts further examine the makeup of the aging workforce.

July 3, 2023

What defines the aging workforce? As its name implies, the aging workforce is a community of working individuals who have either reached or exceeded a certain age.

“The aging workforce is a relative term, but depending on the nature of the work, it could be anyone as young as 35 to anyone ages 65 and up,” said Steve Simon, Senior Risk Control Manager at Safety National. “The general perception is that this group typically consists of people in their 50s or 60s, but there is no easy way to quantify members of this community. When identifying an aging workforce, the most important thing to consider is one’s capabilities to perform a job.

Age categories are based on various factors, but the only thing that should warrant concern is when an employee lacks the capacity to keep up with their responsibilities. Some red flags worth monitoring are:

  • Noticeable declines in strength, flexibility, and/or range of motion
  • Difficulty with processing information
  • Slow or delayed reaction times

Mentors, Coaches, and Role Models

The lifecycle of an organization starts from the top down. Your most experienced (tenured) employees help mold future generations of the workforce. While management sets company standards, tenured workers provide an example for new employees to look up to. Whether you work in an office, inside a warehouse, or on a project site, having more experienced staff presence around can make a significant difference. When searching for guidance at work, turn to someone with years of experience that really knows the job.

Older workers are fantastic mentors and coaches, especially for younger employees. So whether you are in the early stages of your career or steadily climbing the ladder in your profession, leaning on a trusted expert provides a wealth of knowledge for you to bank on. Plus, when you surround yourself with enough experience, expect a better output from the effort you put into the job.

People in an aging workforce tend to take more pride in their quality of work. They often avoid shortcuts, ultimately resulting in fewer mistakes. Older workers are generally very calculated and cautious with their decisions, and most of the time, these individuals act carefully to ensure the job gets done correctly.  Employees with a longer tenure have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. They know the most effective ways to accomplish a task.

Keeping this part of your staff engaged is a great way to tap into the full potential of the operation.