Mistreatment of Older Employees Can Be Bad for Business

Date: January 06, 2017

An unhappy worker is likely to cost your small business money, according to new research.

The old saying “respect your elders” appears to be especially good advice for business owners.

Companies that aren’t friendly to older employees could have problems in their future, The Wall Street Journal reports. 


A survey of 666 workers between the ages of 45 and 75 found that they were less engaged at work if they felt older employees weren’t treated well at their company.

What made these older workers feel they weren’t being treated right? Having to do manual labor, not having programs such as phased retirement and reverse-mentoring, and having younger managers and teams. 

“The reason they’re not performing is we’ve created a work environment where they’re not going to work well,” Carol Kulik, study author and research professor of human resource management at the University of South Australia, told the newspaper. 

Kulik said disengaged workers can hurt businesses financially.

On top of that, a disengaged older employee is more likely to stay put in his or her current position than to hunt for a new job, according to The Wall Street Journal

“A disengaged older worker is a really big problem,” Kulik said.

Research shows paying attention to older workers can benefit businesses. 

Older employees can be motivated leaders with an experienced skill set, according to Paychex. A Society for Human Resource Management survey found writing, technical skills, and professionalism/work ethic were some of the areas where older employees enjoyed a significant skills advantage.


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