turning agism into a non-issue
Life expectancy has risen in recent years and has created a new age group that is fit for employment: ages 55-70.
This group is not only motivated to work and attain self-fulfillment, but, above all, includes a huge variety of professionals with proven experience and accumulated knowledge that is much higher than most young employees in their field. Creating a business model that includes this generation allows for mutual uplifting between older and younger employees that has long been proven to improve company results, including the proverbial bottom line.
Today, there are many people with high physical and cognitive abilities between the ages of 55-70 who can work in a wide variety of jobs—and still wish to do so. Many are left out of company plans on the basis of age discrimination, prejudices, and myths that have long been inconsistent with reality.
Even today, most organizations promote retirement and encourage different ways to end employment for older generations instead of leveraging on the advantage of this quality workforce for years to come.
Beyond the economic and psychological damage to these employees, there are a multitude of other negative consequences of this agist thinking. The economy and individual businesses miss out on significant manpower of an age group with a wealth of unique experience, motivation, professionalism, and other admirable qualities.
True, along with the benefits, there are quite a few challenges that companies face when they employ people of older generations. Some potential hurdles include a lack of technological knowledge in some of this population, the fact that usually these employees are also caregivers for their elderly parents or family members, and more.
However, undoubtedly, the opportunity here outweighs the challenges. Flexible employment models used today for Generation Y and Z can also be used to address the challenges of employing older (more senior?) workers.
*These numbers come from the Employment Service and Central Bureau of Statistics.
The employment rate among women aged 55-62 was 65% – that is, 35% are unemployed.
In 2015, the employment rate among men aged 55-67 was 71% – that is, 29% are unemployed.
The population of employees aged 55 and over constitutes more than 51% of all income support claimants.
The 55-64 age group is the largest group of job seekers (27.9%).
AGENDA - let’s get started
Xtra Mile, a lifecycle marketing agency that specializes in employer branding strategies and implementing corporate responsibility measures, helps organizations promote the hiring of older employees. We do this through a community-based work plan tailored to each organization, optimizing the program to meet the company’s specific needs.
Our program includes the establishment of a diverse employee community (ERG – Employee Resource Group), consisting of young and older employees working together as a committee, with the goal of increasing awareness to agism and dealing with its implications.
ERG activities include a series of meetings tailored to the needs of the organization, which includes lectures by professionals who will deal with various aspects of more senior employment (finances, emotional impacts, work environment adjustment, etc.). While ERGs are employee-led, they benefit from the ongoing assistance of Xtra Mile staff.
Community activities will help us understand what the older population of employees truly needs when it comes to several issues:
AGENDA enables an organization to take its core values and apply them to the specific needs of its employee community. This move creates an impact not only on the work environment but also outside it, such as on the issues of the rights and representation of older people in the company, in the local community, and in society in general.
Xtra Mile, in addition to building the ERG community program, will support the company with its ongoing management, promote awareness the its agenda among all company employees, and communicate to target audiences outside the company. It will also create various activities for the organization’s older employee population.
These measures benefit the older employees in the organization and establish a support system within the company itself. In turn, this will create among all existing and potential employees a sense of belonging and pride, as well as confidence regarding their professional future. The end goal is to increase the company’s reputation as an employer of choice.
Examining the challenges of diversity and inclusion when it comes to older ages.
Imparting knowledge and innovative tools to employees
Creating task forces
Adjusting products and processes to be more inclusive as society continues to change
Communicating ERG community decisions and initiatives to the entire organization
AGENDA –ANOTHER ANGLE TO D&I
Many organizations have adopted a culture of diversity and inclusion, and the senior population is now an integral part of these organizations. Multi-generational or multi-age employment (having both young and old workers) leads to mutual learning, creates balance in the organization, and enables it to reach a larger number of target audiences (both in terms of potential employees and customers/suppliers).
Older and more experienced employees in the organization bring with them professional experience, broad life experience, experience handling different business situations. They can serve as mentors for the younger employees. The employees (both young and old), the community, and customers and suppliers who see an organization’s commitment to diverse, inclusive work environments are more likely to hold the company in high regard.
Benefits of Older Worker Populations
Professionalism and professional experience
Motivation, commitment, and involvement
Credibility and ethics
Availability, reliability, and productivity
Low cost of recruitment
Challenges of Older Worker Populations
Maintaining health issues
Flexible work hours often required
Work environment accessibility measures often required
Increased wages due to seniority
Can be caregivers for elderly family members
AGENDA’s Goal: Helping Organizations Understand and Promote the Employment of Older Generations of Workers.