How can employers adapt to an ageing workforce?

The UK’s population is getting older, and so is our workforce. How can companies meet the needs of an ageing workforce?

Health and wellbeing solutions provider The Health Insurance Group recommends introducing more flexibility in working practices, with flexible working, part-time working and later-life working options giving knowledgeable and experienced staff the flexibility to continue with their employment, focusing on productivity rather than actual working hours.

It’s also worth remembering that older workers may have responsibilities as carers for relatives.

“In these situations, employees might struggle to find a balance between work and their duty to care for someone,” said Brett Hill, managing director of The Health Insurance Group. “Employers that can offer staff the time and freedom to comfortably do both will go a long way towards relieving some of the physical and emotional burden associated with providing care for a dependant.”

Employers should also consider providing access to independent financial advice to help employees manage their pensions or other financial assets, as well as access to health screenings, wellbeing programmes and employee assistance programmes with specific content on caring responsibilities or other age-related concerns, The Health Insurance Group said.

The challenge for employers is not just in managing older workers, but a whole workforce whose age range is widening, according to David Hope, CEO of absence management specialist FirstCare.

Businesses are faced with a workforce that is increasingly diverse in its needs, expectations and prevailing attitudes towards work, and employers need to take a forward-thinking and flexible approach, Hope explains in an article for Personnel Today.

“This flexibility needs to be reflected in an organisation’s wellbeing and benefits strategy. Older workers sometimes have fewer financial restraints than younger age groups, but may place higher value on work-life balance, so their packages can be tailored to this, with more options for unpaid leave, for example.”

With one third of the workforce predicted to be over the age of 50 by 2020, innovative thinking like this will help employers address the challenges of having an older workforce.

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