Are you overlooking older workers?

According to a recent study featured in the Independent, UK employers are not doing enough to recruit the over 50s – leaving 73% with an overwhelming feeling of bias. And while younger workers might be the future, their more experienced counterparts have plenty of future left in them yet. Perhaps more importantly, many also have the skills, business ethos and general attitude prized by today’s organisations. And with those pesky skills gaps continuing to grow at an alarming rate, this is not a section of society you want to ignore.

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The strange thing is, 94% of businesses do recognise that older professionals could be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to bridging that gap – but a somewhat contradictory 77% are doing little to actively recruit from this valuable segment. But what effect does all of this have on older workers themselves? And how can you alleviate feelings of disenfranchisement?

Getting the most from your older workers.

  • Fair treatment: What troubles the majority of over 55s? Favouritism towards the young – particularly where promotions are concerned. If you’re serious about engaging your older workers, and truly tapping in to the skills and experience they have to offer, you need to create a level playing field where colleagues are judged solely on their professional merits, rather than the date on their birth certificates.
  • Inclusion: It’s difficult to succeed in an environment that you don’t feel a part of, and with almost a third of older workers feeling side-lined, employers need to do much more to ensure that all of their workers are given the same opportunities – whether that’s on the social side of things, or in terms of the projects on offer. Organise team-building events that bring everyone together; set up meetings that call for input from the whole team. Put simply: make each of your workers feel valued.
  • Training: Some employers worry that older workers are not up to the task when it comes to tech. But invest in a good training programme and you will undoubtedly reap the rewards. After all; it’s better to incur a small outlay to develop capable staff than it is to have vacancies left empty and business promise left unfulfilled.
  • Communication: There’s no denying that, in the main, generations respond rather differently to the myriad ways of working. While millennials often favour email as a means of communication, older workers will usually plump for face-to-face interaction. But there is no hard and fast rule, so we would urge every employer to engage with their workers to find exactly what works for them. After all, knowing how to get the best out of a diverse team is what makes for a great manager – and a great place to work!

The bottom line? In this uncertain and often unstable economic landscape, able workers of every generation will be your key to a successful future. Invest in them; engage them; don’t overlook them.

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