Letters to the Editor

Mature workers enrich businesses

To the editor:

We were excited to see Ron Bourque’s recent column titled “What’s the average age of your workforce?” and learn about his 90-year-old friend, Dave (April 27-May 10 New Hampshire Business Review).

We, too, agree when Ron states “what I find distressing is the common practice of avoiding older people, as if they have some sort of plague.”

At AARP, we find employers can benefit by recruiting, retaining and training mature workers for their organizations. Just as Ron’s life has been enriched by his work with Dave, employers – and their employees – can be enriched by hiring the mature worker.

But it’s more than that. Given the changing demographics of the U.S. workforce, more and more employers are going to experience skill shortages and have trouble finding the talent they need to meet their business objectives. Thus, mature workers make an excellent source of this talent.

It seems simple but many employers have yet to realize this and cling to old stereotypes about the older worker and their motivations for work, their interest in learning new skills and technologies, and their ability to change.

In a recent AARP survey of New Hampshire businesses, we found most employers are aware of the impending worker shortage but few have taken steps to prepare for it. Most consider retaining institutional knowledge that is lost when employees retire or leave to be highly important … but few have a formal process for departing workers to share their knowledge.

To stay competitive, businesses need to make changes to their HR policies and procedures to ensure that they can attract and retain a workforce that can include generations working side by side.

AARP has a number of resources that can help. We encourage business leaders and HR professionals to use our online Employer Resource Center at aarp.org/employerresourcecenter. There you’ll find research information on the changing demographics, best practices from businesses that recognize the value of mature workers, and even a workforce assessment tool. You can even sign up for our free AARP Smartbriefs, a biweekly e-newsletter that provides timely information from a variety of sources.

Ron’s right about another thing. The best workforce combination is a mixture of the young – eager to learn – and the older, more experienced – eager to teach and share.

Deborah Russell
Director, Workforce Issues, AARP

Robinson is hurting the church

To the editor:

I just read with amusement your Flotsam & Jetsam in the May 11-May 24 edition of New Hampshire Business Review. Yes indeed, that old Silent Majority has been staying silent while still attending their parishes.

In the May 6 issue of the Washington Post there was a story about the division within the Episcopal Church regarding the election of a divorced homosexual Bishop in New Hampshire three years ago – Gene Robinson. The last sentence in the story really sums up what is going through the minds of many parents of young children who attend an Episcopal Church: “There are hardly any bishops in the Episcopal Church that I’d even want my children in Sunday school with.”

Gene Robinson would like to believe – and have others believe — that only 5 percent of Episcopalians are disturbed by his becoming bishop, and his misrepresentation of the Scriptures. The undercurrent is tremendous, the discontent being discussed quietly everywhere – the not-so-silent majority if you listen closely.

People have also chosen to vote with their checkbooks – the loudest way to get their disapproval acknowledged – even while still attending their parishes. After all, one person cannot change the love people have for their church, and cannot change their beliefs. Had Gene Robinson truly cared about what is best for the greater good, he would have never become bishop.

I do not care that Gene Robinson is a homosexual. I do care that he has been elected to a position of leadership of the church. People come and people go. Let’s hope he goes soon.

Carol O’Leary
Rye Beach

Categories: News