The film, The Intern, made a splash at the box office last year. It’s a heartwarming and loveable comedy about a 70-something retired widower played by Robert De Niro who joins a senior citizen internship program when he grows bored with retirement. With a stellar cast including Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo and others, this story of bridging generations in the workplace casts an important light on a trend that is all too real in our current climate: retirees and seniors in the workplace.
Seniors in the Workforce
Trends are changing in our work climate. More and more, seniors in the workforce are becoming a common and valuable resource for companies. These men and women bring a wealth of experience and commitment to their jobs, and have a level of social grace that many younger workers do not possess in our information and computer-communications era.
While the film takes the relationship between Ben (De Niro) and Jules (Hathaway) to extremes, it is an excellent picture of the level of commitment and dedication that seniors can bring to a position. As a senior intern, Ben is willing to go to extremes to protect Jules’ interests and the company overall.
Skills and Commitment
There are still too many companies that are skittish about hiring seniors in the workforce. The fear is that these men and women might be close to retirement and may not be long-term hires. In truth, many might be looking to escape what they fear as the boredom of retirement. This is exactly what drives Ben to seek work.
Senior workers tend to be exceptionally committed to their job. They come from an era where work ethic was different and commitment to the company meant a great deal. In addition, many of these potential hires might bring to the table a wealth of skills and expertise that is missing in many young workers. Put simply, what they lack in technical expertise they make up for in terms of social skills, insight, communication and dedication.
Finding the Right Role
The most important thing to keep in mind when hiring seniors in the workforce is that you need to find the right role for them. Just as with any employee, attempt to match them with a position that suits their outlook, abilities, and physical capabilities. Be frank about the kind of work they are seeking, and the positions you have available.
It should go without saying, but be very careful about being seen as discriminating against a potential hire due to their age. The last thing you need is for an age discrimination suit to be filed against your company. Approach the topic with candor, honesty and an open mind. You might find that a senior citizen is a breath of fresh air for your company culture!
Check out are next article The Intern, Students in the Workforce, and You.