Businesses can gain a lot from employing older workers who may have previously retired, but cultural adjustments have to be made to attract them, writes Paula Allen
Recently, we’ve seen a surge in older workers returning to work after retirement. Given the current economic malaise, many Brits are facing increased financial pressures, so the trend is hardly surprising. But while the cost-of-living crisis plays a major role, the return to work is also because of a desire to regain socialisation, an important facet of quality of life that many felt was stripped from them during Covid-19 lockdowns.
During the pandemic, many older workers reported feeling taken for granted. Therefore, when older workers do return to work, employers have to consider how to make them feel welcome and valued. This heavily relies on creating and cultivating an effective company culture.
All employees want to work in an environment where they feel they can be honest and open with their colleagues and managers, this is as true for older workers as it is for younger ones. All workers should feel included and accepted in their workplaces and age must be made a full part of the inclusiveness agenda. Companies should look to make age inclusivity part of their company framework, ensuring that manager training includes this and is represented from the top down.
Recruiting older workers
Given that culture is a fundamental component that retirees will be focusing on when considering their employment choices. Companies should also look at their employee make-up. A working environment with only young workers may deter retirees from the workplace.
Employers should also seek to understand why older workers are returning to work. Programmes such as an employers’ saving programmes or discounted travel and food benefits don’t only act as a motivator for employees but will help alleviate some of the financial pressures impacting employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
Educational programmes can also prove effective in advising employees and for older workers, tailored programmes on retirement funds and pensions would help reduce concerns and stress around economic uncertainty and personal finance.
As well as offering benefits and programmes, another way employers should look to support older workers is through offering flexible working, to help older workers with the transition back to the workplace.
For example, retirees are likely to have been able to pick up extra commitments, such as caring for family members. By offering flexible working, employers can help ease the transition for older workers, as well as enable them to prioritise their wellbeing and personal commitments. In particular, flexible working hours are often seen as highly valuable.
Just as many companies had to work quickly to deal with the challenges of the Great Resignation and evaluate how they attracted and retained talent, there needs to be the same level of focus on how to welcome those employees back to the workplace making this transition as seamless and supportive as possible is key.