I continue to be amazed when people say “He’s too old!” or “Is she really up for that anymore?”
It’s flawed thinking – that men and women “of a certain age” are no longer able to do the job, excel at their jobs, or contribute in the same way they did when they were younger.
There’s one thing correct in that assumption – older workers don’t contribute in the same way. In many ways, they’re better than they were when they were younger. Yet our society is programmed to think that age matters, but in some cases only. We just elected a new president. One candidate was 69; the other was 70. In fact, just nine of our 44 presidents have been under the age of 50.
So why shouldn’t insurance professionals work beyond their retirement years? For those companies losing such talent, they know this about their retiring professional: this is someone with decades of experience, training, and knowledge obtained on the job. Once that person heads into retirement, their employer is left to locate new talent and train them in hopes that one day they’ll reach that same level of expertise – an achievement that may or may not happen.
When you think of ageism in those terms, you realize how ridiculous it is to judge someone based on their age. Instead, we should be looking at them in terms of the skills they bring to the job.
The good news is our retiring insurance professionals aren’t ready to stop working. According to a recent AARP study, more than 7 in 10 respondents between the ages of 45-74 say they plan to work in retirement, including 29% who intend to work part time for the pleasure of it and 23% who will work part time for the additional income.
And the retiring worker is looking to contribute. In fact, the AARP survey shows that 92% of respondents want a chance to use their skills and talents, and 88% are looking for the chance to do something worthwhile.
Who wouldn’t want employees with that kind of motivation?
That talent and motivation in the insurance industry is still available. It’s why I started WAHVE – to help the industry reclaim the knowledge and skill that was slowly leaving as the Boomer generation prepared for retirement. We as an industry can retain this exceptional talent, and our insurance professionals who are wanting to ease into retirement can remain engaged and active.
But it requires us to think outside of the traditional office and embrace the new, vintage remote workforce. Opening up our thinking beyond such boundaries opens up amazing potential that can only enhance the work we do.