Despite being in the over 55 age category, I admit that I was at first quite skeptical about the challenge and importance of engaging older workers in our diversity and inclusion strategy. Two years on, I am 100% on the bus!
This morning I had the pleasure of attending 55 Redefined's Age Pioneer in person at a conference in London. I was delighted to hear and learn so much about what other pioneering organisations are doing in this space. Some key takeaways for me:
- Adam Hawkins from LinkedIn shared that we now have up to 5 different generations in the workforce, this is challenging for organisations in terms of how they hire, develop, engage and retain talent across these different generations
- Adam also shared that the focus on older workers was paramount, due to the current skills scarcity and the fact that they are more loyal and more networked (and according to the evidence, happier in their careers, compared to other generations)
- Helen Tupper, Founder & CEO of Amazing If, ran a session on “Squiggly Careers”, with the premise that the traditional ladder approach to career movement is broken. Older workers in particular are open and interested in opportunities to stay in organisations, but to consider more flexible and “squiggly” career moves. This was a really refreshing session and Helen shared some excellent insight on changes that organisations need to adopt to think differently around progression for individuals, especially older workers.
- Adam also shared that increasingly we will see more investment in technology innovation to help us to live better, targeted at older workers
- Lyndsey Simpson, Founder & CEO of 55 Redefined shared reflections based on the conversations that she is having with senior leaders. A focus on older workers is critical to ensure retention of critical skills and knowledge.
- She also shared that there is a need for organisations to provide better support to employees navigating the discussions with them, about how they stay with the business, but in a different way.
- Organisations need to use the data they are collecting on their workforce to forecast the impact of attrition with the current outdated approach to managing retirement processes
It's refreshing that we are starting to see traction around the need to focus on older workers and to think differently about this. It's also clear that senior leaders recognise that if their organisation doesn't have a robust age inclusion strategy, then it will impact their future growth plans.
In summary, good progress is being made on older worker inclusion strategies, but it's the tip of the iceberg and we need more senior leaders to be bolder in prioritising age inclusion in their diversity equity and inclusion strategies.