The Benefits and Challenges of Working Alongside Retirees

Even with growing economic uncertainty, many businesses are still having problems finding qualified workers. To fill open positions, recent retirees have become a key source of potential talent. But do you understand the pros and cons of trying to work with retirees who have been lured back into the workforce?

The pandemic caused a massive disruption in the worldwide workforce. Part of this came from a flood of late-career workers who decided to retire during the global health crisis. One estimate suggests that about 2.4 million additional workers retired in the U.S. during the COVID period.

Now, many of those workers are considering a return to the labor market. Some have grown bored in retirement, while others are facing a financial pinch in the wake of the post-pandemic inflation. Whatever the cause, your team could soon see an influx of these more-experienced coworkers.

As you approach working with this increasingly popular pool of talent, there are pros and cons to consider. As such, here are some of the benefits and challenges of working alongside retirees.

Benefits of Working with Retirees

A diverse workforce gives your team added strength. A multi-generational approach can inject more depth and a broader set of experiences. Working with retirees can make your life easier and support your longer-term career development.

Here are some of the specific benefits you can gain from working with former retirees on your team:

Deep Experience

Retirees have experience going back decades. They have been through business situations that many younger workers have never encountered. This rare connection with the past can prove extremely valuable.

The benefits of this have come into acute relief lately. In 2022, the economy has faced conditions (rising inflation and the risk of recession) not seen since the 1970s. Having team members who have battled those situations before adds to institutional memory and can provide an excellent resource for navigating difficult circumstances.

Extensive Professional Networks

With a long history in the industry, retirees come with a lot of personal connections. Yes, many of these contacts have also retired. But much of this network will remain active, making these more experienced workers a critical hub of communication.

Less Aggressive Competition

Retirees generally aren’t looking to engage in Game of Thrones-style office politics. Given their career situations, they don’t have much to gain by climbing the corporate ladder. As such, they can provide a cultural touchstone, fueling a strong team spirit. All while not presenting a barrier to your career development.

High Mentorship Potential

Working with colleagues with a large amount of experience creates substantial opportunities for mentorship. Beyond their individual contributions to your team, retirees can increase the long-term potential of younger workers. You can benefit from this coaching and advice, adding enduring value to your career.

Challenges of Working with Retirees

Coaxing retirees back into the workforce comes with benefits. But there are downsides to consider as well. These are generally manageable. However, you should keep them in mind as these new team members enter the fold:

Potential for Reduced Engagement

At any moment, you could lose your best co-workers to a competitor. That’s a predictable part of the process. For contributors who have recently retired, there is another potential temptation: leaving the workforce again.

These workers might not feel the same engagement in the overall organization. After all, they aren’t looking to build a long career with your firm, so they aren’t as motivated by the potential for advancement. Meanwhile, they can always consider retirement again, which might have them eyeing the exits in certain scenarios.

Possible Generation Gap

Communication is crucial for any collaboration. Sometimes, the exchange of ideas can be hampered by a generation gap. Different modes of discussion, even variations in things like senses of humor, can create barriers.

This shouldn’t kill any hope of operating smoothly in a multi-generational team. However, you should be aware that some level of translation might be necessary.

The Risk of Outmoded Skills

Yes, retirees come with experience. However, some of that work history took place…well, way back in history. In a fast-evolving economy, marked by constant developments in technology and techniques, some skills cherished by older workers might not apply to the current market.

Looking for Further Build Your Career?

Joining a diverse group of coworkers doesn’t just lead to better work outcomes. It can also fuel advancement in your career. A top recruiter, like ABLE Associates, can place you on these high-performing teams, accelerating your professional development.

Contact ABLE today to get the most out of your next job search.

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