If you're an employer or manager, it's becoming increasingly important to manage your older workers effectively. This is because, with the babyboomer generation now approaching retirement age, the prospect of a major labour gap is emerging. Although, in the UK, the phasing out of the Default Retirement Age should theoretically counter the mass retirement of people at 65, many elder workers may decide to leave work at this age anyway if they're unhappy at work, think they're not being listened to or feel no real connection with their boss.
The key to managing boomers-those born between 1947 and 1965-is to allow them to make their own decisions regarding semi-retirement and retirement, and to work with them to make their plans work for your organisation. Instead of assuming that a worker will just move from working full-time to full-time retirement, or just stay working full-time until they die, be open to the idea that they might suggest a new and different way, such as cutting their office time down to three days a week and spending some time doing volunteer or consultancy work within the community.
Whatever age they are, employees tend to be more productive the more they respect their bosses. However, respect is a two-way street. If you show respect to your employees, they're more likely to respect you. Unfortunately, the older worker rarely receives the respect her wisdom and experience deserves--at least not in advanced, Western societies. By taking the time as a manager or owner to sit down and communicate with your older workers, to really listen to what they want, you are demonstrating a respect for them that will most probably be reciprocated if it is genuine and long-term.
For further information and advice that is current and relevant to your company's policy towards elder workers, check out our new eBook Moving into Retirement in the 21st Century.
www.positionignitionorg.com (for organisations wanting to learn more about managing their older workers effectively)
- Career Challenges at 50: Unfulfilled in Your Career?
- Position Ignition in the Guardian
- You're Never Too Old for New Skills