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Blog : Valuable assets - our 'older' generations


Valuable assets - our 'older' generations

by Emily Moore - Business and Franchises Manager

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development recently focused on an issue that will affect us all. We are living longer. We are working longer. This isn’t a bad thing, the more time someone has been around, the more experience they have. Government statistics show that businesses are responding to the skills shortage by encouraging older workers to stay within the organisation – by the early 2020s, forecasters believe that those aged between 50 and 64 will comprise almost a third of the workforce.

'Older' people are a welcome resource to many companies with almost one million over 65’s still in formal employment in the UK. This figure is set to increase further as from October this year the Government are set to scrap the default retirement age all together. The Department of Works and Pensions actively encourage employers to make learning and development available to all personnel – at least up to the age of 70.

However, the CIPD’s research revealed a startling fact: despite being seen as a resource, older workers receive less investment in their careers than their younger counterparts.

The CIPD’s report entitled ‘The Employee Outlook: Focus on an Ageing Workforce’ surveyed 2,000 employees and found only 46% aged 65 and over have a formal performance appraisal at least once a year (in comparison to 65% of all employees), and 44% have not had one in the last two years, or never have (compared to an average of 27%). And it’s not just appraisals where older workers are missing out in comparison to those in other age groups. They are much less likely to have received any development – 51% said they have received no learning in the last three years or never had (in comparison to 32% across all age groups surveyed).

This is rather sad when you consider that feedback from appraisals leads to people who are more motivated and have clear objectives. Companies who invest in learning and development demonstrate belief, trust and a commitment to the continued employment of their people. In these days where all are striving towards equality in the workplace, it is essential that employers do not sideline the potential of their older workers.

When we at learnpurple carried out research with over 2,500 people we found that learning and development ranked within the top five things people need in order to feel engaged. Regardless of age, employers who give their people every opportunity to fulfil their potential through development, reap the rewards of increased staff motivation, increased productivity, improved service, and knowledge, enhanced job satisfaction and loyalty. We know that for all businesses continued success depends entirely on how well they nurture and develop their people. All of their people.  Finding out how people are feeling in their roles, is one of a manager’s key levers for performance and motivation. One the simplest way of ensuring that the whole workforce has an equal opportunity to appraisals would be the use of the award winning talent toolbox. 

Older employees are often looked to by younger generations to reinforce company culture – keeping them included in company learning and development ensures they are on point with company values, goals and key messages. A brilliant way of topping up the wealth of knowledge older people bring to their roles are learning bites, these are just 90 minutes of education, seminar and motivation and happen early in the morning. These cleverly tailored sessions ensure your people set off to work afterwards feeling refreshed, motivated and buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm. Which is what it is all about after all.

It is totally worth investing in your greatest resource – your people-  whatever their age.

What are your experiences of dealing with the aging workforce?

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