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Direct marketers finding a valuable resource in hiring senior citizens

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PostcardMania, a direct mail marketing company, began hiring more senior citizens after CEO Joy Gendusa’s mother passed away. To help take her dad’s mind off his loss, Gendusa hired him.

Her father, Bernie Lebowitz, became an invaluable asset to the company. He was a key figure on a much-needed project to identify reasons for failed sales calls so that targeted marketing messages could be tailored to past prospects and clients to generate more revenue. Having been a successful entrepreneur in the trucking industry before retirement, Bernie brought a wealth of expertise that many younger employees had not yet developed.

Following her father’s success, Gendusa realized that seniors possess indispensable experience that could well benefit companies.

Statistics show that seniors (65-plus) represent 12.7% of U.S. population, about one in eight Americans. Mature adults is the fastest growing demographic segment of the population and at age 65, 23% are still working for a variety of reasons—to supplement incomes or health insurance benefits, to avoid dependency on relatives or just to continue to make use of their talents and abilities by working, according to seniorjobbank.org.

PostcardMania’s next senior hire was Murray Schact, a former IBM Corp. executive, who came on board to help maximize the company’s database and increase sales. Murray, who created software for the airline industry while at IBM, had been retired for more than 15 years.

Experienced, well-educated, older employees in the workplace were a welcome addition to the direct mail company. Since hiring Bernie and Murray, PostcardMania’s human resources department has expanded its former hiring pools and considering more mature applicants.

“The key positions that senior citizens are excellent for are those jobs where speed is not as important as the attention to detail and the care factor,” said Jennifer Custer, PostcardMania president.

Custer said direct mail companies can benefit from hiring seniors in a number of ways because their dependability and thoroughness. Seniors can especially provide assistance to a company that is expanding rapidly by filling positions that require a great deal of patience such as data entry, mailing services, tracking and routing jobs, or updating stale-dated or backlogged jobs. Additional assignments can include various short-term special tasks or even pilot projects where important particulars are crucial.

Another factor that makes the older demographic a valuable asset is the fact that they aren’t job hunting or out looking for career advancement. They’re dependable and many don’t need 40-hour shifts, which can benefit corporations that are feeling the crunch of overtime.

Lorelee Pierce, a 70 year-old woman who had always worked in management positions came to PostcardMania looking for a challenging yet lesser-responsibility position. She now contacts customers who have postcards that haven’t been mailed to the customers’ mailing lists and either gets them mailed or ships them out to the clients, which frees up room in the company’s warehouse. Pierce said looking for a job as a senior citizen had its challenges; employers were interested in her background, but were afraid to hire her because she was considered “overqualified.” With a son in the PGA, Pierce says she likes the fact that she can take off whenever she wants to see him play.

“Seniors offer valuable skills and experience,” Custer said. “They have a strong work ethic and a great deal of knowledge that they share with our younger employees.

Karla Jo Helms is VP-public relations at PostcardMania (www.postcardmania.com), a full-service postcard direct mail marketing company.

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