Is your business getting the best out of older workers?

Tuesday 24th July 2018

One of the key steps to long-term success for many businesses is gaining as much value as possible from their people.

If your firm is looking for ways to optimise your workforce and get the very best out of all your employees, one strategy worth considering is exploring the potential of older individuals.

It’s easy to assume that the youngest workers will be the ones to drive productivity, come up with fresh ideas and take your business forward, but more seasoned staff could have just as much to offer, as recent research has shown.

Wanting to work
One of the key characteristics of older workers that could make them particularly valuable members of the labour force is their desire to remain in the workplace and continue contributing to society and the economy.

A recent survey by Canada Life Group Insurance showed that the number of people wanting to stay in work beyond the age of 65 has more than doubled in the past three years, from 17 per cent to 36 per cent.

Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of UK employees said they will work past their 65th birthday. While economic and financial factors play a major part in this, many are also choosing to stay in their jobs.

More than a third of respondents (36 per cent) said they had no interest in retiring at 65 simply because they enjoy working, while one in four (25 per cent) said they appreciated the social interaction involved in their jobs.

Nearly four out of ten women (39 per cent) said they liked working and wanted to stay in employment for as long as possible, compared to one in three men (33 per cent).

Paul Avis, managing director of Canada Life Group Insurance, highlighted the importance of organisations being aware of these trends and taking action in response to them.

“Whilst financial concerns will never truly fade, it is incredibly encouraging to see employees choosing to stay in work because they enjoy it and this changing attitude must be endorsed and reinforced by employers,” he said.

“Our research shows that creating an environment that is flexible to the changing needs of employees is key to attracting and retaining workers as they approach later life and continue into it.”

Providing support
If your business is keen to make the most of talent and experience from the widest possible pool of workers, there is a lot to be gained from engaging with more senior employees and finding out what they want from their jobs.

The Canada Life survey provided some insights into this, with 42 per cent of respondents saying that, if they were looking for a new job beyond the age of 65, offers of flexible working would be their top priority.

Nearly a third (31 per cent) said they would look for companies with a good reputation for looking after older workers, while the same proportion would prioritise economic incentives.

If your business is able to demonstrate these principles, it could be in a strong position to benefit from the knowledge and capabilities of the most experienced individuals in the labour force.

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/DGLimages

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