The success of the Nationwide Building Society’s work on promoting age diversity was clearly down to teamwork. Initiatives were put into practice through the work of the equal opportunities team, the employee relations team, pensions and the employee rewards team. Ensuring all these various parts of the organisation’s HR function were consciously promoting age diversity had a great impact on the make-up of the society’s employees.
The initiative was introduced to meet a number of issues which had arisen within Nationwide. Fall-out from the merger with Anglia Building Society meant that large numbers of younger employees had been recruited. This younger age range had brought with it high staff turnover levels in some areas of the business. The company took action and created more stability in its workforce by creating more mixed aged teams. Adverts were designed to attract a wider age range and the removal of age bars was introduced as part of the company’s Equal Opportunities policy.
The employee relations team, working closely with the Nationwide group staff union, also developed proposals for recruiting and retaining older workers and the pensions team has developed new guidelines to implement flexible retirement. The society has introduced length of service awards at 10, 20, 30 and 40 years and since, according to its own research, the average length of service for employees aged over 50 is 19 years these awards clearly favoured older age groups.
The age diverse workforce effectively reflects the diversity of the organisation’s customer base, and with recruitment costs running at between £5,000 and £8,000 per employee, the initiative has had a substantial financial benefit through reduced staff turnover.
HM Customs & Excise