Singapore’s population is maturing quickly, with almost 25% of citizens expected to be 65 and over by 2030. While many of these people will retire, others will look to remain in the workforce to provide their expertise and secure their financial future.
Unfortunately, age discrimination remains a genuine issue faced by older people that want to continue working. In fact, a study of 10,000 companies found that two-thirds perceived employing older people as a competitive disadvantage.
Yet research has shown that mature-aged workers still have plenty to give in the workplace, ranging from exceptional leadership qualities to sustained productivity. So, what can you do to make your business friendly for older workers?
Age is just one factor in hiring staff, but it’s critical to acknowledge that older people have specific needs that may require your business to adapt its approach. Here, we outline several tips to ensure businesses and workers benefit.
1. Get flexible around personal commitments
Older people have different responsibilities outside work that many businesses may not be familiar with. One of the most common is elder care or babysitting duties, where employees serve as key caregivers for a partner or grandkids. You can make your workplace more accessible to older workers by adopting flexible policies.
Consider allowing older workers to have a greater say in their schedule, within reason, so they can take care of their responsibilities. Meanwhile, these kinds of arrangements can also be suitable for workers with health issues. Get to know your team’s needs and how you can help to develop an empathetic business.
2. Invest in well-being
Make your business friendlier to older workers by investing in strategies that improve their health and well-being. These days, many companies provide employees with gym memberships or free yoga sessions. With a series of programmes tailored to older people, you ensure they enjoy the same mental and physical benefits as others in the business.
You should also consider how some workers are more suited to specific tasks than others. For example, if a position requires physical labour, see if you can swap these tasks with a younger colleague to reduce the risk of injury. Plus, reflect on the physical design of the workplace to implement the most ergonomic environment for everyone.
3. Respond to feedback
You can’t create an employee-friendly workplace if you don’t understand the issues within it. Take an active process to get feedback from your older employees to understand whether your approach meets their needs. Then, if you’re alerted to fresh concerns, implement a process that deals with them effectively.
For example, an older worker might have trouble sitting at a desk for long periods. Is there a way you can make it more comfortable? Some employees may require more training to use a specific piece of technology. Getting feedback makes it easier to invest in the right places.
4. Respect experience
Businesses can benefit hugely from the experience older employees bring to an operation. However, you can only benefit from this wealth of knowledge by putting people in a position to succeed. By developing a workplace culture that values the experience older workers have gained over decades, you can achieve the best outcomes for the company.
Naturally, older people have an insightful perspective on dealing with situations that younger workers might not have ever experienced. Plus, older workers can serve as influential mentors to employees just starting their professional journeys. By adopting strategies that make use of experience, you ensure older workers feel valued in the business.
5. Disregard false stereotypes
Even businesses with the best intentions can get stuck paying too much attention to false stereotypes about hiring older workers. One of the most damaging is the notion that older people have little interest in learning new skills and that it’s a waste of resources to invest in people who could soon choose to retire.
Fortunately, a dedicated approach to hiring older workers will showcase how these workers are just as capable as anyone else when given the tools to showcase their talent. With an adaptable mindset and a desire to treat people with respect, you can overcome disadvantageous stereotypes to create a dynamic workforce.