In the midst of a war for talent there is a growing recognition of the value and experience that older workers bring to organisations. As the workforce demographic evolves, it is essential for HR professionals to adapt their recruitment and retention strategies to ensure the inclusion and engagement of the over 50s.
Gen Z employees are set to make up a third of the workforce by the end of the decade, so many organisations will naturally have placed a big focus on the demands that this demographic has of its employers. However, some industries are suffering with older workers taking early retirement which serves to exacerbate talent shortages. Not only that, the younger workforce will lose out on the invaluable skills and knowledge transfer they would benefit from by working alongside their more experienced colleagues. Losing this demographic also hinders company culture, given the reduction in the different perspectives and experiences on offer.
In this blog, we explore how HR can encourage those in this age bracket back into employment, avoid age discrimination, and prevent biases in recruitment.
Encouraging the Over 50s back into Employment
Flexible Working Options:
Offering flexible work arrangements, such as reduced hours, part-time schedules, or job-sharing opportunities, can attract experienced professionals who seek a better work-life balance.
Skills Training and Development:
Providing opportunities for upskilling and reskilling can empower older workers to adapt to evolving roles and technologies, increasing their confidence and job prospects.
Establishing mentorship programmes that pair older employees with younger colleagues fosters knowledge transfer and creates a supportive culture that values the contributions of older workers.
To ensure a fair and inclusive working environment that older professionals will want to join and stay in, organisations must actively prevent age discrimination both in the workplace itself and in the hiring process.
Avoiding Age Discrimination at Work
Conducting regular training sessions for employees and managers on age discrimination, its impact, and legal obligations can promote a culture of awareness and understanding.
Reviewing Policies and Procedures:
HR should review and update policies to eliminate age-related biases and ensure equal opportunities for all employees throughout their career progression.
Establishing clear channels for reporting age-related discrimination and providing appropriate support mechanisms for employees who experience discrimination helps in addressing issues promptly and effectively.
Preventing Age Discrimination in Recruitment
Remove Age-Related Criteria:
Avoid specifying age-related requirements in job advertisements, as this can discourage older candidates from applying. Focus on skills, qualifications, and experiences relevant to the role.
Diverse Interview Panels:
Create interview panels that consist of individuals from different age groups to minimise unconscious biases and ensure a fair evaluation process.
Age-Blind CV Screening:
Implement anonymised recruitment processes where age-related information is removed from CVs during the initial screening stage. This helps evaluate candidates solely on their skills and experience.
As the workforce continues to age, it is imperative for HR professionals to adapt their practices to recruit and retain the over 50s effectively. By implementing inclusive strategies, raising awareness about age discrimination, and eliminating biases in recruitment, organisations can harness the wealth of experience and skills that older workers bring to the table. Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce not only benefits the individual employee but also contributes to the overall success and growth of the organisation. By valuing and leveraging the talent of the over 50s, HR can drive positive change, foster a culture of age diversity in the workplace and mitigate the risk of talent shortages.