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Addressing the ageing workforce

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by Charlotte Gurney

Talent strategies for 2021 onwards must be alert to, and focused on, the need to address an ageing workforce. Within the UK, more than a third of the working population is over the age of 50, with far fewer younger skilled people entering the workforce than are likely to leave it in the coming decade. When older employees leave an organization, the skills and experience they take with them could open up skill gaps and affect productivity and performance. In order to reduce the impact of this in your business, below we’ve listed some key actions and considerations you should be taking into consideration if you haven’t already.

Give managers the confidence and skills to do more

Line managers play a key part in bringing young people up through the organization. As a result, it’s crucial to develop your managers and senior workforce so that they are able to handle diverse teams and transfer their knowledge, skills and intuition on to the next generation within the business.

Invest in learning and ongoing development

The more opportunities you provide to older workers to reskill and develop in their careers, the more likely they are to remain in the business for longer. Establishing coaching and mentoring schemes within the business provides the opportunity for younger staff to connect with those who are more experienced, acquire their knowledge and get inspired by what they can do to better their professional development.

Promote a healthy and engaged work environment

Understanding and catering to the needs of your workforce is imperative. A motivated employee will bring far more to your business than someone who feels neglected or under appreciated. By taking this into consideration, you’ll be promoting a better work environment and, in turn, keep hold of your younger workforce as they develop their skills and understanding of the business and their roles.

Offer more flexibility

There’s no hiding from the fact that remote and flexible working arrangements have been successfully implemented over the last 18 months. As a result, this new found level of adaptability has been adopted by many firms, much to the praise of their employees. In particular, this shift has benefitted senior workers who may have more pressing responsibilities, such as childcare or looking after un well relatives. This has helped in relieving a certain degree of stress within their lives and contributed to a healthier work-life balance.    

Implement effective talent management

If you don’t already have something like this in place, you could be missing out on opportunities to better manage an ageing workforce and nurture younger workers. Technology has a big role to play here, in particular because it can be used to identify any disruptive issues and also whether there are staff close to retirement so that you can manage the organization’s talent needs and create effective succession planning.

Rethink the way that you recruit

It may be time to take a broader approach to recruitment that moves away from the traditional channels that you’ve used. For example, you could offer internships and work placements, develop strong relationships with local educational institutions or look further afield when it comes to advertising the positions you have available. Try working with a recruitment partner like Volt or consider potential staff you might previously have overlooked, such as parents returning to work or people who have come from other careers.

An ageing workforce only presents a problem for those businesses that are not prepared for it. If you address this issue now, then your organization can continue to thrive. To find out how Volt can help with this process, visit our ‘Services & Solutions’ page on our website.