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Utilizing Older Generations for Employee Retention

4 min read
Updated Aug. 25, 2021
Published Jun. 14, 2018

Employee retention is critical to the success of sales organizations. Turnover impacts more than just the bottom-line. It affects a company’s morale and image, as well as disrupts the daily workflow of management when they have vacancies to fill. Retention is strategic. One strategy organizations can benefit from is the use of older generations to increase retention.

Baby Boomers are known for their strong work ethic, honesty, and loyalty. These traits benefit customer relationships and encourage success through hard work. Cross-generational knowledge sharing is an opportunity to propagate these values across an entire salesforce.

Detailed below are a few ways older generations can positively impact employee retention.

Strong Leaders Inspire

We’re all familiar with the phrase, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” A strong leader understands how to bring out an employee’s strengths, develop their weaknesses, and inspire loyalty. Years of professional and industry experience make older generations excellent leaders. An organization can learn from previous challenges. Past experiences serve to prepare for future problems.

Steve Jobs’ success with Apple is a perfect example of using history to build a better future. Steve learned from his mistakes and grew the organization to what is it today. Those experiences provided valuable insight into how to approach new challenges. A seasoned leader can share their learnings with younger employees to achieve greater success.

Who doesn’t want to work for someone that inspires and motivates? Employees take pride in the organizations they work for, including the leaders. Strong leaders breed success. How does that success translate to an organization? Forbes discovered that great leaders can double profits. Imagine the impact that would have on your business.

Customers Benefit From Loyalty

It’s not uncommon for older generations to stay with a company for the duration of their career. Younger generations have a different attitude toward their careers. Job-hopping has doubled in the last five years due to younger generations’ need for change. Baby Boomers can teach the value of staying with an organization for the long-haul and the benefits of loyalty. Longevity develops company and industry knowledge. It also leads to a personal investment in the long-term success and strategic goals of the organization.

Sales is about relationships. According to Forbes, “businesses have a 60 to 70% chance of selling to existing customers, while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5 to 20%.” By inviting new employees to participate in interactions with long-term customers, older generations help to retain trusting relationships. This practice connects customers with a new familiar face in an organization.

Career and Personal Guidance

A clearly defined career path assists in reducing turnover. An organization that invests and values employee development retains employees. For many Millennials in sales roles, the career roadmap might appear hazy. Older generations can help by encouraging new employees to stay and grow within a company.

A study by Deloitte found that millennials intending to stay with their organization more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%). Mentorship programs encourage valuable relationship development among salespeople from all generations. More tenured employees aid in knowledge transfer, which decreases time to productivity. Mentors also provide personalized coaching. The individual attention gives newer members of the sales team confidence and conveys the company’s commitment to helping them build the skills needed for success.

A mentor can identify high-potential employees for promotions. Hiring internally benefits organizations. Outside hires are 61% more likely to be fired from a new role than those sourced internally. Additionally, promotions demonstrate that an organization values employee goals and rewards hard-work.Outside hires are 61% more likely to be fired

Executive presence is an essential skill young salespeople can master with the aid of a mentor. For example, seasoned salespeople help rookies develop confidence and prepare them for difficult situations later in their career. Leaders should be aware that new employees are watching and emulating their body language, attitudes, and communication styles. They’re teaching Millennials and Gen Z-ers how to represent the organization to prospects and customers.

Employee retention is a reliable indicator of a healthy organization. When essential salespeople leave, it can negatively impact the organization for months. Offering a variety of benefits and perks helps with retention, but utilizing older generations as a resource is critical. Tenured employees contribute to the creation of a culture of knowledge sharing. Younger generations will learn firsthand the value of loyalty, hard work, and integrity.

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