There’s a common misconception that mature workers, in comparison to their younger counterparts, don’t have the necessary skills or relevant experience to succeed in today’s tech-centric workplaces. And with over half of the workforce projected to be made up of millennials by 2020, we oftentimes overlook the value that mature workforces provide to any business.
In reality, mature workers honed their skills over the years and can provide valuable insights based on this hard-earned experience. Further, they not only tend to stick around longer, they also want to stay actively engaged. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “57% of workers ages 60 to 64 were employed for at least 10 years with their current employer in January 2018, compared with 12% of those ages 30 to 34.” Deloitte also found that engagement levels tend to increase with age, with millennials tending to show the lowest engagement levels.
The mature workforce is an under-tapped talent pool that organizations should support. And in the current war for talent, organizations can’t afford to lose this valuable group of employees.
Here’s three ways you can engage and support your mature workforce:
1. Avoid ageism
SHRM points out that organizations must avoid negative terminology in order to combat ageism in the workplace ‚ terms like “older worker” or “older workforce” have negative connotations.
While “older workforce” may be a more commonly used term, “mature worker” takes into account age, health, career stage, tenure and life experience. Try to combat ageism as often as possible when talking about your mature workforce so stereotypes aren’t perpetuated.
2. Support their purpose
In Deloitte’s study on motivators for the aging workforce, 52% of respondents said that feeling like they’re making an impact is what motivates them to work hard at their job. Today’s employees want to feel good and live with purpose. As leaders and managers, that means creating an environment where employees feel engaged.
Prioritizing employee well-being is essential to increasing employee engagement. The Limeade Institute found that employees are 38% more engaged when they feel their employer cares about their well-being. Ensuring that every employee knows their company cares should be an essential part of any organization’s employee engagement strategy.
3. Deliver flexible work arrangements
Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that mature workers often depend on their employers for flexible work environments in order to accommodate personal needs such as caregiving, but most employers do not currently provide this type of flexibility. In fact, the study found that one of the largest pieces missing for respondents was a flexible work schedule and arrangements.
With flexible work arrangements becoming increasingly important for employees, it can be hard to create inclusive environments for remote or non-traditional workers. It’s important for organizations to not just deliver flexible work arrangements but ensure that you’re also making those employees still feel included through regular check-ins, career counseling, mentoring and more.
It all comes down to creating an employee experience that’s focused on engagement and inclusion for all generations. There’s no doubt that your mature workforce provides immense value to your team but making sure they don’t get overlooked is crucial to success.
Learn more in our guide for creating an inclusive workplace.