How to talk to your older workers
In workplaces all over the world, managers are for the first time dealing with the issues that arise when up to four generations work side by side.
Older workers stay on in employment for a variety of reasons. Some can’t afford to retire, others enjoy work and choose to continue, and in many cases mature employees want to build up their superannuation.
Organisations put themselves in a vulnerable position if they don’t have a profile of workers based on age and by section of the organisation. In an environment with an ageing population and ageing workforces, organisations need to be on the front foot. A profile of the age of your workers is essential, and a strategy to address retention and transition to retirement should now be part of any human resources strategy.
Talk to your older staff about their working plans. You will need to discuss:
- How long they intend to continue working
- Do they intend to keep working the same hours or slowly transition to retirement?
- Will they be able to continue to do the same job for those years or will they need to re-train?
- Developing an individual workplace plan
Critical to the effectiveness of this exercise is ensuring the discussion takes place in a non-threatening manner and that mature-age workers feel comfortable and confident to take part in the discussion. A carefully worded letter or memo should be sent to individuals from the Managing Director or CEO, advising them how valued they are and how serious the organisation is about retaining and working with employees who may be thinking about retiring.
Given that the age to access the age pension may rise to 70, considerations of older workers will be more important than ever. There are also many who will not want to work that long, and if they are some of your key people you need to know, and you need to have a strategy to address filling the gaps.
You must also make sure you have the policies and procedures in place to reflect that your company is sincere about valuing its older workers, and has the flexibility and trained managers to work in the best interests of all stakeholders. Companies that don’t do this well risk losing years of experience and knowledge that could be detrimental to their business.
Source: The Living Well Navigator
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