We know our workforce is getting older. We’re retiring later, we’re living longer and we’re starting our careers later.
But what are the practical implications. What can we in HR actually do to take advantage (and avoid the risks) of a more mature workforce?
First, let’s go through the benefits of older workers:
- Higher productivity: Older workers are statistically more productive than their younger counterparts
- Less injuries: Despite being more likely to suffer strains and stress-related injuries, older workers only account for 5.6% of injuries in the workplace
- Experience and resilience: Older workers are experienced, and younger workers respect the knowledge that can be passed on from these experiences
But that doesn’t mean it’s inherently easy to attract, manage and create succession plans for your mature workers. Here’s what to watch out for:
You need to attract mature workers
With the average time spent at a company by an employee rapidly decreasing, don’t just expect your current workforce will stick around and become your older, experienced workforce.
You need to go out and find the good talent, the same as you do for every other demographic.
Tailor your recruitment specifically for skilled, older workers. Offer them job security, respect and a good challenge and you’ll quickly receive applications from the highest calibre candidates in the market.
Pass on knowledge and skills with purpose
Creating a solid succession plan is vital when you’ve got a large number of older workers in your team. Develop programs where they can regularly upskill and mentor more junior staff and you’ll have a good pool of replacement workers ready to fill key roles as your more experienced staff retire.
Succession plans need to be created before they’re needed to ensure proper preparation, so don’t think you can prepare successors once your mature worker gives their notice!
Manage age diversity across teams (manage risk of them retiring)
If you’re not measuring generational diversity across teams currently, you can easily get started now using your current HR data (all it takes is a date of birth!).
This will help you identify which teams have no older, more experienced workers present to pass on their expertise and wisdom, and which teams have too many older workers who are at risk of retiring and leaving their team understaffed.
Like with most elements of workforce planning, a good balanced workforce is key to mitigating these risks.
No matter what your experience has been with older workers, it’s a growing segment of the workforce. We’ll likely see the organisations who take advantage of this shift become employers-of-choice, so now’s the time to focus your attention on your Twilight workers!