By Marc Belaiche
Some estimates indicate that Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) currently account for as much as 46 percent of the Canadian workforce. In addition, according to Statistics Canada, it is likely that one out of every four people in the labour force will be 55 years or over by 2021 (see http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-010-x/2011008/part-partie3-eng.htm).
With an aging population and looming skills shortage, your organization might be in a position to hire more experienced workers over the next few years. This article will cover some of the areas that you may wish to consider:
The need of more experienced workers is not the same as those of a younger generation. For example, health and medical benefits, hours and time off may be more important for a more experienced worker. It’s important to be flexible and accommodate when it’s possible to do so – one uniform policy for all your employees might not be adequate.
Experienced workers, with years of savings and perhaps a house paid off, may not need as high a compensation package as they were accustomed to in the past and may be willing to work for less than they previously earned. For that reason, you might be able to get someone with more experience with a competitive compensation plan.
More experienced workers can bring leadership skills to your organization. Allow them to show their leadership but also communicate with them as to who makes the final decisions if it’s not them.
“We Used to Do it This Way”
Some experienced workers may refer to their previous experiences to come up with solutions, alternatives and recommendations. Respect this experience as it can help you in your organization and will give them comfort that you value their knowledge.
Threatened Younger Managers
There may be younger managers that can feel threatened in managing more experienced workers. Provide training and communicate with younger managers as to the differences of an older generation of workers and how to manage them if necessary.
While a younger employee might find a bonus rewarding, a more experienced worker may appreciate other types of recognition such as time off. Be aware of these differences and ask them how they would like to be rewarded.
Experienced workers can provide stability to your organization. Younger employees may be more inclined to want to climb the corporate ladder and move to another organization to get new opportunities. A more experienced worker may appreciate the stability of working in one position with one organization “until they retire”.
Be aware of bias towards not hiring employees of a particular generation. Not only could this be a Human Rights issue, but you might not be doing what’s best for your organization overall.
As technology continues to change the workplace each day, your organization might need to spend resources on providing training/retraining for more experienced workers. Be aware that not every generation grew up with all the technology and speed of the technological changes that are occurring today.
The growth in the more experienced labour force is happening now. The first of the huge group of Baby Boomers is beginning to reach 65 years of age and many of them are not ready to retire for a variety of reasons. An organization that invests in more experienced workers can build a more balanced culture, improve retention and ultimately a stronger organization.
Marc Belaiche is a CPA, CA and is President of TorontoJobs.ca, an Internet recruitment business and recruiting firm located in the Greater Toronto Area. Visit www.TorontoJobs.ca.