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Article Written by Joe Humphries,

Most employers consider the benefits of training new employees, but they often forget about retraining older employees. Older employees can often get lost in the shuffle when it comes to training. Luckily, all is not lost with the older employee. There are plenty of ways to ensure your older employees get up to code with all the latest training materials.

The Benefits of Retraining Older Workers
Older workers can get lost in the shuffle when it comes to job training and placement. The longer a worker has been on the job, the more likely he or she will end up just another cog in the machine. Retraining older workers can give them a sense of purpose. It can help them understand that they haven’t been forgotten about. It can also help them pass “best practices” on to other employees.

The sad fact is that sometimes employees who have been on the job for a long time can pass bad habits on to new employees. Retraining these employees can help them pass on better practices to other employees.

The Challenges of Retraining Older Workers
Sometimes retraining older workers can be very challenging. People who have been with a company for an extended period of time don’t always believe they may need to be retrained. It may be difficult to explain to older employees why you’re re-training them. They may think that they’ve done something wrong to elicit a training session, or they may see the training session as a punishment. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can employ to ensure that your training goes as smoothly as possible.

How to Retrain Older Workers
Retraining older workers isn’t an exact science. You need to create a delicate balance of training material with the idea that they aren’t being “re-trained” but rather trained for “something different.” If you want to go about retraining your employees, follow these steps.

1. Explain Why You’re Retraining Them
Don’t simply assume that all of your older employees will want to be retrained. They may not feel that being trained all over again is within their best interest. Instead, offer the training program as some form of advanced training. Don’t let them think that they are getting the same “basic” training as new employees. Sell them the training program as a way to further or advance their careers with the company. The more your employees believe that they have a skill greater than the skills of the newer employees, the better off you’ll be.

2. Ask What They Know
Don’t assume that you know what they know. Your employees might know significantly more than you give them credit for. The first step in any training program is to determine what your employees already know. Give them a quiz, questionnaire or survey to determine this. Afterwards, you can split your employees into groups. This way you won’t need to retrain the employees who won’t need retraining. Instead, you could create a separate training program for the employees who already know what they’re doing when it comes to their job descriptions.

3. Get Back to Basics
When it comes to training your older employees, you may need to retrain them on the most basic information. It’s possible that they never learned the correct policies or procedures. Ultimately, it’s probably not their fault that they were never trained properly on how to perform their jobs. The important thing is that you’re going over this information now.

4. Go Over New Training Material
Go over any new training material that your older employees may not have covered in previous training programs. Try to include any new policies and procedures that they’ll need to know to perform their jobs to their best ability. This new training material is often considered a new challenge by many older employees. While employees might not be keen on relearning some of the older material, this is the moment in which you can allow some of your older employees to truly shine.