Firm to increase number of over-50s in workforce

Domestic
and General is planning to increase the proportion of staff aged over 50 at its
Nottingham communication centre after a drive to hire older workers helped cut
recruitment costs by half.

HR
manager Ruth Ebbern Robinson said the firm has been so pleased with the
contribution of its older workers that it plans to increase the proportion of
its 570 call centre staff aged over 50 from 7 per cent to 20 per cent.

She
told Personnel Today an older workforce has many benefits, such as lower staff
turnover, people wanting job stability and more conscientious workers.

Ebbern
Robinson said D&G, which provides domestic appliance repair protection
plans, has found that older call centre staff are often better at dealing with
people who have broken goods.

"Mature
workers have an empathy and familiarity with our business area, since they
themselves have had experience of the kinds of problems our customers
face," Ebbern Robinson said.

She
said hiring older workers has helped reduce the average cost of recruiting and
training a new call centre worker.

"Although
there is no specific figure on the cost saving in recruitment for older
workers, since it is part of a number of initiatives, the retention focus of
D&G and the mature workers’ recruitment and retention initiative have both
reduced recruitment costs by 50 per cent, which directly helps the company’s
bottom line," she added.

The
company, which has been named one of the champions of the Government’s Age
Positive campaign, uses photos and case studies of older workers in its
advertisements and runs open days so potential staff can see the call centre in
action.

Prospective
staff are initially interviewed over the telephone to reduce any chance of age
discrimination and to reveal how they come across.

By
Quentin Reade

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