Longevity, demographic changes, and technological innovation have revolutionized the world of work.
As many employers face a coming wave of baby-boomer retirements, the resulting gaps in unique skills, experience, and institutional knowledge may be difficult to fill. Keeping mature workers engaged may help ensure that your company retains the employee knowledge necessary to compete.1 Going forward, successful workplaces will not only leverage the skills and institutional knowledge of mature workers, but also ensure that the expertise mature workers possess is shared with other employees.
- Offer educational opportunities
- Be flexible
- Promote collaboration
Offer Educational Opportunities
More than 80 percent of workers age 45 to 64 say the opportunity to learn something new is critical to them, and over 70 percent say that job training is an essential element of that ideal employment.1 Experienced workers are eager to get additional training so they can keep their skills sharp and make themselves more employable.
While large employers with abundant resources may already be providing this training, smaller companies can still manage to do this and reap the benefits. Assess your company’s existing training model and determine opportunities for bolstering your employees’ skillsets.
1. Use free or low-cost options
Highly skilled employees might be your best trainers. Ask them to pass on their skills and knowledge to others.
2. Promote internal learning opportunities
Don’t limit your training offerings. Host a variety of training and business building sessions and engage with your employees to find out what they like, don’t like, and what they want to learn more about.
3. Subsidize training programs
Thanks to modern technology, there are more educational opportunities than ever before, such as online courses and tuition reimbursement programs.
Workplace flexibility is a way to attract talent because it accommodates active lifestyles and child or eldercare. One study revealed that 77 percent of millennials think that flexibility is not only desirable but also is key to productivity. The idea is also appealing to baby boomers, who are seeking flexibility as they near their retirement years.2
1. Evaluate your company’s existing policies. Which aspects do you currently offer?
- Flexible hours
- Working remotely
- Job sharing
2. Consider offering part-time work or a phased retirement
Employees of all ages can benefit from a sense of community in the workplace. Sharing ideas is one way to foster this feeling. Whether it’s informal with shadowing and project partnerships, or formal with mentorship and reverse mentorship programs, generational and experiential differences are a learning opportunity.
Brainstorming brings employees together to work toward a common goal by offering various perspectives and solution.
2. Create a reverse-mentorship program
In this program, older employees can pick up something fresh from their younger counterparts. For example, those who are less skilled at using technology might rely on another employee to teach them how to use a certain application or tool. Conversely, more experienced employees can teach younger ones how to develop business and share valuable insights.
3. Provide spaces that support all of the above
Employees are more likely to be happy and collaborative when they have places to meet together comfortably, participate in training or seminars, or work independently when necessary.
In the workscape of tomorrow, employees of traditional “retirement age” want more, and workplaces must adapt if they want their business to succeed. In order to retain and attract the best talent across generations, including would-be retirees, it is critical to:
- Offer educational opportunities for employees hungry to learn;
- Be flexible to accommodate the employees with different lifestyles; and
- Promote collaboration to foster a community and creative thinking.
People are living longer, better lives. And the happiest, most productive workplaces are those that are adapting to support these lifestyle changes.