Medical advances mean that people are living longer and working longer. While many employees decide to work beyond the average retirement age to continue to enjoy the pay and benefits of their job, as well as the intellectual stimulation and sense of accomplishment it gives them, others may be working longer out of necessity.
Looking to attract and retain more senior employees is a sound recruitment strategy in a labor market with more job openings than candidates. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in its Quantifying the Nation’s Workforce Crisis – State of American Business 2022 Update, notes that “The most critical and widespread challenge facing businesses is the inability to hire qualified workers for open jobs they need to fill.”
Older workers bring wisdom and experience to the workplace and tend to be engaged, but you’ll also need to ensure you’re adequately supporting them and giving them a great workplace experience. In this article, we’ll consider some ways to do that.
First, let’s take a look at some of the most common issues associated with an aging workforce and some of the common challenges that older workers might face in the workplace:
Many older workers, especially baby boomers, may not be as computer literate as their millennial and Gen Z colleagues. This means they might take longer to complete tasks or require extensive training in the use of company IT systems.
As we age, both our minds and bodies undergo various changes. Aging tends to slow people’s mental processing capability and speed. Physical manifestations of aging include loss of strength and flexibility, poor posture, and reduced strength and visual capacity. This introduces a higher risk of workplace injuries. Older workers are also more likely to require more medical attention on the job than their younger counterparts.
While older workers may not all be as physically fit and tech-savvy as younger employees, they add value to the workplace in many ways. Let’s consider some of the upsides to hiring older workers:
One of the greatest benefits of hiring older workers is that they have a lifetime of professional experience under their belts. Older people may be able to fill roles that require a high level of knowledge and skill without extensive training.
Older workers can also serve as great mentors to their younger, less-experienced colleagues who may still be developing the skills they need to perform their tasks.
Adding more older workers to your team can present challenges and opportunities. So, what can you do to make sure that you support your aging workforce?
Offering flexible working arrangements is one way to make your workplace attractive to older candidates. There are several ways to introduce flexibility into your workplace. You can offer people part-time roles, opportunities to sign up for seasonal work, or short-term projects.
Payment flexibility is another attractive and easy-to-implement option. Earned Wage Access (EWA) services allow employees to access wages they’ve already earned but not yet been paid. If you employ senior workers who work shifts, you could also look at introducing shift scheduling flexibility. This approach allows people to quickly swap shifts with their colleagues should they need to attend to a personal matter at short notice or happen to fall ill.
Older workers will inevitably be more likely to suffer from health problems or chronic illnesses. If you have an aging workforce, it’s a good idea to adjust your employee health and wellbeing policies and health insurance plans to accommodate potential health issues and encourage people to look after their physical and mental health.
Truly supporting employee wellbeing ensures that people are in the best place physically, mentally, and financially—meaning that they’re in the best place to deliver optimum performance. Businesses looking to take a holistic approach to ensuring employee wellness and help their workforce address immediate and long-term financial needs can implement the Payactiv Livelihood Platform. This platform provides benefits that include on-demand access to earned wages, cashless payouts of tips and mileage, off-cycle pay, saving and budgeting tools, and a discount marketplace.
It’s not just younger workers who have a desire to develop their skills and grow professionally. However, too often, senior workers aren’t afforded the same opportunities as their younger colleagues.
Offering older workers the chance to enroll in learning and career development programs will ensure they not only keep their skills up-to-date but also feel valued and engaged.
Many older employees feel that biases within their workplace impact how they’re seen and treated. Some experience discrimination in the application and screening process. Others might feel that they’re overlooked when it comes to promotions. All this can make older workers feel unappreciated and undervalued.
Root out any biases that might exist in your workplace, for example, by running training and awareness programs about inclusivity and diversity. Today, several artificial intelligence-powered technology solutions are available that help managers identify any bias in job descriptions. When people feel that there’s reciprocal respect between them and their colleagues and leadership – irrespective of their age – it fosters a truly inclusive culture.
Companies like Payactiv offer solutions that can help you embrace diversity in its fullest sense and work towards creating a more equitable and fairer workplace. Our platform allows employees who are distributed across multiple sites and may lack access to company PCs to get company updates and access other company information easily. This ensures that everyone feels part of the team, irrespective of their role, age, background, or level of computer literacy.
Older employees have a lot to offer a business – they can offer fresh thinking and years of wisdom and experience. And as we’ve explored, there are many ways you can make your company a place where older workers feel welcomed and valued.
Payactiv is the partner of choice for businesses seeking to help employees of all ages participate fully in both work and life. Our all-in-one Livelihood benefits platform takes a holistic approach to improving financial health and increasing employee satisfaction by offering wellness benefits, flexible scheduling, and more!
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