Posts Tagged graying workforce
As mature age workforce specialists, we are often quizzed about alumni programs for organisations. Most of the questions are about how to engage retired ex-employees into such a program. We don’t really ‘do’ alumni programs, but the solutions we have for mature workers would definitely contribute to an alumni initiative.
Here are some of the questions we ask:
- What’s the business imperative for setting up an alumni? Is it a potential talent pool or living, walking knowledge base? (If it’s just about doing a nice thing for older people then it’s dooooooomed.)
- How are you engaging your mature workers now? How do you support their decisions about work and retirement? Maybe you could start with pre-retirees for the alumni. (There’s often quite a pause before people answer that question – if they can.)
- Do you have a transparent and defined process for re-engaging or re-employing people who have retired? (The answers here are more miss than hit.)
The Washington Post Capital Business recent article on a graying workforce cites some good examples of how organisations are engaging retired workers.
The Agriculture Department is working with the National Older Worker Career Center to encourage people 55 and older — many of them retired federal employees — to come back to work on a specific project or be a temporary or part-time worker.
Joel Reaser, senior vice president at the Arlington-based center, said the program benefits older people who don’t want a full-time job but still have experience and knowledge as well as a government agency that’s facing an impending wave of retirements.
The effort is “not just a nice thing to do for old people,” said Reaser. “It’s absolutely critical that all employers, including the federal government, learn how to … retain [employees] further into their lives, extending their work lives and finding creative ways to bring them back.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Mercer’s What’s Working survey declares that baby boomers are more satisfied with the work they do, less likely to leave BUT they are overlooked for career development and opportunities. Do you agree?
Sageco always encourages employers to actively support mature workers in their late career and retirement decisions. Sometimes it is the ‘assumption’ of retirement that is the greatest barrier to this. If you manage mature workers, then follow these three easy steps to ensure that they’re not being overlooked:
- Have a conversation about their work and retirement intentions. Ask the questions, “What would you like the next ten years working here to look like?”
- Encourage your mature workers to think about taking charge of their own career development.
- Make sure that performance and development reviews are constructive and don’t assume that someone is ‘just going to retire soon’ because they are over 50.
Great article from last weekend’s Sunday Age. Here’s an excerpt:
Here’s another image: a newer, more sombre reality. You work in an office. Your 65th birthday comes and goes. Life as you know it ticks on, the humdrum of the office continues. You turn 67, then 70. You watch your salt-and-pepper hair turn grey, then take on a silver-white shimmer. You look across your ergonomically designed desk (with the adapted lighting to aid your weakened eyesight) at your colleague; he or she is older and more silvery than you. Forget the golf course; you are not going there – at least, not yet.
Welcome to 2050, where, according to the Rudd government’s intergenerational report, nearly one in four of us is over 65. The future is grey.
Here’s the trick: How do we work longer but work differently? I’ve had a stab at providing an alternative picture. Organisations who invest now in workforce development for their late career employees could assure their staff of something like this:
Here’s another image: a newer, bright reality. You work in an office. Your 65th birthday comes and your Gen Z manager gives you a day off to celebrate with your grandchildren. Work as you know it has taken on a whole new dimension, the hum of the office alternates with the trill of birds when you work at your home office two days a week. You turn 67, then 70. You watch your salt-and-pepper hair turn grey, then take on a silver-white shimmer. You add a purple streak to it in acknowledgment of the wisdom you share with your two mentees over lunch. They thoroughly approve.
You look across your ergonomically designed desk (with the adapted lighting to aid your weakened eyesight) at your colleague; he or she is older and more silvery than you. Forget the golf course; they are packing up for ‘snow goose’ leave and will return in three month’s time from their beach holiday to be part of the contingent workforce for the ‘busy season’.
Welcome to 2050, where, according to the Rudd government’s intergenerational report, nearly one in four of us is over 65. The future is surprisingly bright.
Everything old is new again. Here’s a quote about the release of the ‘new’ intergenerational report out today:
The Government says improving workforce participation, skills and infrastructure are the keys to growing the economy and ensuring productivity improves.
We’ve been tuned into intergenerational reports for over seven years now; our business SageCo is pretty much based around this unprecedented demographic shift in workforce population. We’ve heard countless renditions of the same message; it’s not new news.
What is new is the approach that some organisations are taking to increase workforce participation of workers in ‘late career’. Interventions like:
- individual phased retirement development plans
- flexible working contracts
- company sponsored retirement coaching
- knowledge transition programs for specialists
- job re-design
- elder care leave
But if we have any hope of increasing workforce participation on a large scale, these solutions and more need to be part of the mainstream workforce management plans – not just special programs.
And another thing – we agree with SmartCompany, the ‘ageing generation’ is an unfortunate and unhelpful label. In the same way that this generation helped define the term ‘teenager’, they are redefining the notion of ‘retirement’.
Lumping an entire generation into the “ageing” category is extremely limiting. Within this old fuddy-duddy group you have a huge array of very wealthy, sophisticated people with masses of money to spend – or leave behind. You also have a deep skill set, leadership skills and acquired wisdom.
This from Pew Research. American statistics – but we are seeing the same in Australia.
Our take: your workforce of the future is actually working with you today; they just want to work differently. What are you doing about it?
The American work force is graying — and not just because the American population itself is graying. Older adults are staying in the labor force longer, and younger adults are staying out of it longer. Both trends took shape about two decades ago. Both have intensified during the current recession. Both are expected to continue after the economy recovers. One reason, according to a Pew Research survey, is that older workers value not just the economics benefits of work, but the psychic and social rewards.