New data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that over 10 million over-50s are now in employment. The potential reasons could include the fact that the state pension age has increased, and we’re also living longer than we were just a couple of decades ago. The fact of the matter is that we have more older people in the workplace, and as employers, we have a duty to make sure that we’re supporting our staff and ensuring that diverse needs are being met.

So what exactly do you need to know about your responsibilities? And how can you tap into the opportunity that exists when it comes to harnessing the skills of the older generation? Here, we share some of our top tips for making sure that your business is riding the silver wave.

Don’t write off older staff when it comes to learning and development

There’s often the assumption that older people have one eye firmly on retirement, so there can be a tendency to neglect learning and development provisions, and keep the bigger opportunities for younger employees. This is not only potentially discriminative. It’s also extremely short sighted.

Invest in your older workers, and you could see many benefits. Be aware of the skills that they may be lacking, and focus on what you can do to ensure that they’re brought up to speed, and can continue to contribute to the bigger picture.

Consider reverse mentoring initiatives

This offers a great way to improve knowledge sharing all around and has come to the fore recently, with companies including Ernst and Young using it to tackle sexism in the workplace. Essentially younger (in this case female) workers, are partnered with older colleagues to help change attitudes on recruitment and workplace diversity.

Younger staff, who tend to have less overall experience but more confidence with technology, could share their knowledge with their older colleagues. It’s easy to jump to the assumption that you need to fork out for formal training, and it’s true that this is sometimes necessary, but there are many other options that can be just as effective.

Be aware of the needs of older workers

At every different life stage, there are things that employers need to be aware of when it comes to making sure that they’re supporting their staff and giving them a degree of flexibility to help them to meet their needs. One thing that you might want to consider for older staff is how you can support them when it comes to their caring responsibilities.

Many older workers will want to spend time with grandchildren, and taking this into account could keep them motivated and engaged. As a rule of thumb, offering flexibility, as long as you keep operational requirements in mind, can be great for morale and motivation.

Our workforces are becoming more diverse, and this can be a wonderful thing for your business. But you do need to take the time to make sure that you’re fulfilling your responsibilities, and doing all you can to keep your policies and practices fit for purpose.

If you want to ensure that you’re getting things right, get in touch. We can carry out a review of where you are, and what changes may need to be made to keep your business thriving. To do so book your free consultation here.

You’ll walk away with a clear idea about what you need to do next.

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p.s - To get ahead of your game when it comes to another area important to your employees: Reward and Recognition, download our FREE eBook: Show Me The Money! The Ultimate Guide To Reward And Recognition In An SME.

Deborah Swain - Silver Surfer

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