Coffee chain beats ageism, hires seniors in big numbers

Coffee chain beats ageism, hires seniors in big numbers

About 20 per cent of the workforce at coffee-and-snacks chain Hatti Kaapi constitute senior citizens. The Bengaluru company has 325 employees.

Founder U S Mahendar is personally driving the initiative to hire senior citizens.

"We started the company in 2009 and started employing seniors a couple of years later," he says.

He realised their potential and zeal when he went to give a talk at Nightingales Home Health Services.

All 50 in the audience said they wanted to work again, and Mahendar saw potential there.

G T Arasu is 77. He has been with the company since its first office was set up in Chamrajpet in 2009.

"I'm more than happy to be working at this age. I don't like to sit idle at home. My daughters are well settled and I don't have any health problems," he says.

Many seniors live on the outskirts of the city and travel about two hours to reach office. The company takes care of their medical and travel expenses.

Leela Devi, 63, travels about 30 km from Nelamangala to her office in bus every day.

 

"I had worked in the accounts section of a bank for 34 years. I was so used to working that I couldn't digest not working any more," 
she says. When she heard Hatti Kaapi was interested in hiring senior citizens, she didn't think twice before applying. Work is not as hectic as at her bank but she says she learns new things every day.

 

These senior citizens aren't from the F&B industry.

 

R Veerabhadrappa was working in the sales department at home appliances 
major Bosch when he opted for early retirement.

 

He is now a cashier at the Halasuru branch of Hatti Kaapi. "As long as I am healthy and have the attitude for it, I should continue working," says the 63-year-old.

He was employed at the Brigade Road outlet before he moved to Halasuru. "I try not to stress myself out. If I feel tired, I let the customer know and they mostly understand," he says. He sometimes works an extra shift when someone goes on leave unexpectedly. The company provides an overtime allowance. The company also provides jobs for the differently abled.

At 60, K Sathyanarayana handles multiple sections of Hatti Kaapi.

"Many companies don't hire after you've hit 40 years, even if you are brilliant at your job. I'm glad I was given the opportunity to help the company grow in whatever way I can," he says.

 

Takeaway

As long as you have the will and enthusiasm, age won't come in the way of your work, working seniors say.

 

Against ageism

When it comes to recruitment, some companies are now evolving a policy against ageism (discrimination on the grounds of a person's age).

 

Work for respect

Founder Mahendar says it is not money seniors are looking for but respect and appreciation.

"Even when they are given limited tasks, they want to learn more, for example, how to make coffee and bake cookies. They have incredible discipline, integrity and interest and we can all learn from them."

 

Mutual learning

Youngsters often walk up to the seniors for advice about work and life. Sathyanarayana, 60, says the learning is mutual. "I never let go of any chance to learn from the millennials. They have a different approach to things," he observes.

 

Job perks

 

Healthcare benefits
Transport (bus, Metro, cab) 
No discrimination in pay

 

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry