Our ageing workforce.
My husband works at the Toowoomba Base Hospital. He is one of three of his family members who work at the hospital. He often comes home with stories about work. He told me once of a young nurse from a different ward who visited her mother, a nurse on my husband’s ward. At the same time, the young nurse’s grandmother (also a nurse), passed through the department. Now for the life of me, I can’t remember the purpose of his story. What was of interest to me was the three generations of the one family working at the same hospital – AT THE SAME TIME!
How does the ageing workforce impact on how we do business? Should there be practices in place specifically for those over a certain age, or is that discrimination?
Our advances in medical knowledge have us living longer, more people are educated and want to use their experience, and as we said a few weeks ago, retiring is exciting, yet scary!
What do we need to do as a company to embrace the older workforce?
1. Fewer people are going to retire at 65
So here is “snaps” to living longer. The downside – we are living longer, which means our money is going to run out sooner. Unless you have seen DC Advice and have yourself a good retirement plan, the likelihood of running out of money or the fear of running out of money before the end of your life is probably top of mind.
We, as business owners, need to be aware of this demography change and prepare our business accordingly.
2. Need to foster wellness of the ageing workforce
The work ethic of my parents and my father in law are beyond anything I have ever seen before. My Dad, for example, had his wisdom teeth out and went straight back to work. I am not sure whether that is a remarkable work ethic or plain stupidity, the answer to that question is a whole other blog article.
We need to make sure we have plans in place for our older workers by investing in their health and well being.
3. Workplace flexibility isn’t just for university students and parents with school pick-ups
I love my flexible work arrangement. I start early of a morning (my husband does mornings) and finish at 3.00pm to be at school pick up (thank you to my amazing bosses). I am a mum a deserve these hours. Can Granny cover me?
Our older coworkers have lives too. While they want to keep working, they may not want to work full time. Or, they want to have their cake and eat it too. Go to work for a few hours and go and play with the grandkids in the afternoon.
When designing our flexible work arrangement, let us not forget about our older workmates.
4. Mentoring roles will become invaluable
Back to my father in law. Before he was at the hospital, he worked at his previous job for 37 years! He has been at his “new” career, for over ten. That is a great illustration of longevity. Not too many people remain in positions longer than 2-3 years. Mentoring roles, with our stayed and true older coworkers, will become paramount in years to come.
5. Age-based discrimination is going to need to be addressed
Excluding people from the workforce is not only discrimination, but it can also be a detriment to your business. Their experience and knowledge will help your business progress.