How to Develop a Staffing Strategy Using Senior Workers

“The only source of knowledge is experience” – Albert Einstein

Ah yes there is nothing like experience.  Regardless of industry there is something to be said for having an experienced workforce.  Which leads us to an interesting trend happening in the Canadian job market.  More and more employees are working past the age of 65.  From office positions to trades and retail, Canadians are working past retirement age. There are a number of reasons for this trend:

• People over the traditional retirement age of 65 are enjoying a higher quality of life then in the past two decades meaning they are more fit to work past age 65. They want to remain active.  With an average life expectancy of 80+, people are more equipped to work past the age of 65.

• Canadians are simply choosing to work longer

• Economics: Increased debt and lower retirement savings are forcing some people to work beyond age 65

• Lack of pension – a number of people who reach retirement age do not have a defined benefit pension from their previous jobs

• Experience – seniors have a lot to offer based on their years of service and are looking to share their expertise and skills

As a result of this increasing trend, employers are aware of this trend and are refining their staffing practices to accommodate seniors in the workforce.

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How Delayed Retirement May Impact Your Business

Having access to an older, more experienced talent pool can have a definite impact on your staffing.  From recruiting to retention, access to experienced people who are not quite ready for retirement may mean you need to refine some of your HR practices.  When it comes to workers who are delaying their retirement, here are some trends that some organizations are beginning to roll out:

1. Creation of New Positions – many employers are being proactive by creating or offering specific positions for seniors.  Roles such as senior advisors, senior strategists or specific senior consultation roles are emerging to tap into staff with seasoned experience.  After all, expertise is expertise.

2. Tailored Benefits for Seniors –  as the workforce gets older their needs change.  Some employers are tailoring portions of their benefits package to meet the needs of their senior staff.  Benefits can range from offering consultation on retirement planning, fitness and wellness seminars, flex time working on revised schedules or the ability to work as a contractor.

3. Developing a Retirement Planning Plan – some employers are making it easier for employees to actually retire, collect their pension and come back to work on a revised schedule.  They customize “retirement job plans” to accommodate those staff members who are close to retiring but want to remain in in the workforce a little longer.  Employers are working with their senior staff to create a win-win dynamic for as long as needed. Planning for gradual retirement is quickly becoming the norm.

4. Developing Training Programs for seniors – depending on your industry, changes in technology means that your need to establish new training programs for seniors.  While older workers bring experience, they will still need to (and have a desire to) keep up with the latest trends and technologies. Data from Stats Canada suggests that training for employees between the ages of 55 and 65 has doubled over the past 20 years.  Providing the necessary training options for senior staff can help retain some of this experienced talent.

5. Recruiting – delayed retirement provides employers with a new opportunity to look at older, more experienced staff who are not ready for retirement and can offer a strong level of expertise and experience.  It’s not a secret that employers struggle with being able to find good talent.  This has opened opportunities for recruitment as many employers are targeting seniors because of the untapped knowledge, skill and experience they bring to the workforce.

6. Create a Mentorship program – Senior employees have the maturity and experience to help train and mentor junior, intermediate and even senior staff.  Older employees have a strong desire to contribute, remain relevant and share their expertise.  Developing a mentorship program helps address this need and can be a great way to transfer knowledge from the more experienced to the less experienced.

Over the next few years, employers will have to create workplace programs that satisfy the need of employees’ careers pre and post retirement.  The need to create flexible time schedules or creating opportunities for part-time consulting or contract positions is a must.  If you haven’t yet redefined your approach towards older employees now is the time.  This article highlights an interesting thought:

“Universities are so smart about getting ready for alumni, right from that very first welcome package. They train us to become alumni before we even step foot on campus as a new student. And companies need to think the same way. It’s normalizing the career path and talent management program so you’re addressing the entire life segment and not missing out on an enormous opportunity to capitalize on what’s actually a third of our lifespan.”

Delayed retirement and the option to leverage senior talent is something that organizations should be thinking about and planning for.  Establishing an “alumni” for your organization is a great idea.  Mapping out a strategy for an aging workforce may not be something you’ve thought about but it is something you should be considering.

Need assistance with your recruiting strategy? We can help. Contact Aspire Recruitment Solutions at 778-484-0161.