Employing Older Workers

Author
Stacey Mead
HR Director | The HR Dept (Bristol) Ltd
22nd November 2023
Member roleChamber member

Diversity and inclusion comes in many forms; and when you carry it out effectively it comes with many advantages to you as a business. That is, of course, as well as doing the right thing for employees with different backgrounds or characteristics, and complying with equality law.

This week is National Older Workers Week, so we are taking a closer look at the Age Friendly Employer Pledge and the benefits of hiring older workers.

 

What is the Age Friendly Employer Pledge?

The Age Friendly Employer Pledge is a countrywide initiative that you can sign up to. It demonstrates that you value older workers (in their 50s and 60s particularly) in your team, and are taking action to help them thrive in a multi-generational workforce.

 

The pledge

The pledge itself reads as follows:

As an age-friendly employer, we will…

  1. Identify a senior sponsor for age-inclusion in our workforce – and publicly state our commitment to the pledge
  2. Ensure that age is specifically named within our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies
  3. Take action to improve the recruitment, retention and development of workers over 50 from one of the following areas:
  • Create an age-friendly culture
  • Hire age-positively
  • Be flexible about flexible working
  • Encourage career development at all ages
  • Ensure everyone has the health support they need

We will commit to take action in at least one area every year and will report back on our activities and achievements annually.

Centre for Aging Better

 

What are the benefits of hiring older workers?

If the pledge itself is a useful summary of actions you can take to be age friendly, it is also important to appreciate why you should do so – how it can help you.

If you are struggling with recruitment and retention, are not connecting with key parts of your market, or have identified skill gaps in younger workers that you cannot fix quickly enough, introducing older workers to your team could well be the answer.

 

Solving a recruitment crunch

Since the pandemic, the rise of remote working and the “Great Resignation”, many SMEs have persistently struggled with recruitment and retention. Sometimes older workers have been overlooked entirely; other times they have taken themselves out of the jobs market, seeking an early retirement before the cost-of-living crisis made them think again.

In late 2022, the Chancellor deemed it such a challenge to productivity that he introduced a range of measures to address it.

If you can recognise what workers aged 50 and older can offer you and appeal to them in your job advertising, then you could very quickly solve your recruitment challenges.

 

Creating a more balanced team

While younger workers undoubtedly represent the future, it does not mean they must exclusively be the generation of the present. They have grown up as digital natives and bring youthful enthusiasm and energy. But, as with any new generation, they will typically be lacking in certain life skills and experience that only come with age.

The confidence and composure which the right experienced older workers bring can add a good balance to your team, saving you personally much of the stress that may come with managing younger workers.

 

Connecting with older markets

A key benefit of having a diverse workforce is making it reflective of your broader target market. Western demographics are aging so, like many businesses, your target market may be ageing too.

Ensuring you have older employees on your workforce who understand the sentiment and issues of this market sector is important for remaining appealing to them, whether it is in your marketing, customer service or strategic direction.

 

Do you want to be more age friendly?

Whether you want to sign up to the pledge yourself and need help actioning the commitments it entails, or just want some outside support addressing a particular issue on this topic, talk to us.

We can assist you with your diversity and inclusion policy, job advertising and much more to help you get the balanced, productive workforce you need.

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