Practical Tips for Employers
Contents: Tips for Employers Seeking to keep Plus 50 Workers on the Job • Plus 50 Business Community Toolkit • Additional Resources
Tips for Employers Seeking to keep Plus 50 Workers on the Job
You may have heard all the buzz about older adults with experience and skills wanting to stay on the job into their retirement years. And employers don't want to see them leave. When faced with difficult layoff decisions in today's rocky economy, many employers are letting younger workers go, and keeping workers with more experience on the job . What can employers do to keep plus 50 workers on the job?
- Learn the benefits your company will gain by keeping plus 50 workers on the job. Experience, leadership, job skills, and a strong work ethic are just a few pluses your company will reap by keeping older workers on the job. Take the online course, "Capturing Experience: How People 50+ Can Help Your Organization" at no-charge and discover the variety of ways plus 50 adults can add value to your company and its bottom line.
- Realize that older workers are concerned about age discrimination in the workplace. In a 2005 survey of adults working or looking for work, 36% said that employers treated older workers less fairly than younger workers, and 71% said that older workers were more likely to be laid off.1 This very real fear, perceived or not, affects plus 50 workers and influences their career choices. Determine steps you can take to allay those fears.
- Evaluate how your workplace atmosphere feels to plus 50 workers. Is your workplace accepting and supportive to participation by plus 50 adults? Use the free AARP Workplace Assessment Tool to find out.
- Cultivate a culture that supports all employees and values their full participation and contribution, regardless of their perceived age. Performance evaluations, discussions around the meeting table, and gossip in the lunchroom are all part of your company's culture. Workers are more likely to leave an environment that does not support their participation or leaves them feeling excluded. Nurture an inclusive environment that values all employees for their contributions and skills.
- Offer part-time employment or flexible work scheduling options. Shared job arrangements, where two part-time employees share a full-time position, offer an effective way to keep people on the job. A compressed work schedule allowing workers to commute only four days a week or to leave early on Fridays, and working from home are all options allowing for greater scheduling flexibility. These options are very important to many plus 50 workers, because they provide much-needed time off to care for relatives and meet family obligations. Receiving the gift of more free time after years of working 9 to 5 is a huge bonus that is highly-prized by workers. The part-time hours also allow them to adjust to working a reduced schedule before transitioning to full retirement, if that is part of their future plans.
- Develop inter-generational mentoring. Pair up older and younger worker across the generational divide in a mentoring program. Younger employees might offer technology tips and advice to plus 50 workers to help them on the job. Older workers will have valuable experience, a strong work ethic, and good decision-making skills to share with younger workers.
- Consider instituting a phased retirement plan. Work with your company's human resources department and legal counsel to examine the ramifications of offering a phased retirement plan that differs from a traditional pension plan. Phased retirement plans enable workers reaching retirement age to shift from full to part-time work, while beginning to collect some retirement benefits. These plans can keep plus 50 workers on the job for additional years in part-time roles, and limit some of the financial strain on employer pension funds.
- Issue a strong message from executive leadership at your company about the value of plus 50 workers. Encourage senior leadership in your firm to communicate consistently and regularly the appreciation they feel for plus 50 workers. If you have more than 50 employees, consider applying to be on the AARP National Employer Team alongside other outstanding companies seeking to hire plus 50 workers.
Plus 50 Business Community Toolkit
This toolkit is designed to support community colleges in building partnerships with the business community. It includes a series of fact sheets for employers that discuss the value in hiring plus 50 workers.