Three-minute explainer on… return on experience

Older staff can offer valuable mentoring opportunities, help to appeal to a wider customer or client base, and are often able to hit the ground running.

Tme Roe

Increasingly, in business, age is just a number. Where firms are facing talent shortages, skills gaps and the arguably looser loyalties of millennial and generation-Z employees, there is something to be said for hiring older staff. 

Diversity matters. Being able to draw on a range of backgrounds and experiences is useful for coming up with different solutions to the same challenges, as well as offering new insights into particular markets or client opportunities. This is the thinking of enlightened leaders when it comes to ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. Why, then, should this same attitude not be extended to people’s ages?

What is a return on experience?

Return on experience (ROE) refers to the understanding that investing in staff with many years of insight and proven success in their field will add value to a business, making their often higher salaries a worthwhile investment. 

The advantages of hiring older staff might include the chance to pick their brains about lessons from previous employers, the opportunity for them to mentor younger colleagues, the lack of training they require, the longer-term mindset they often have, and even their ability to help promote the business to an older audience.

How to attract experienced staff to your business

Aside from competitive pay and a job title which should acknowledge and reflect their expertise, older workers are often drawn to flexible working arrangements. Allowing positions to be split as job-shares or to be done part-time are good ways of appealing to staff who might want to wind down their hours for health or personal reasons, but who still want to maintain some income.

In general, older staff are likely to be attracted to companies where they know their experience will actually be valued, where they might have influence, and where they can play an active role in shaping the company’s strategy going forward. 

Ultimately, if a business hires experienced people, it makes sense to listen to their recommendations, rather than remain wedded to the status quo.