Motivating Older Workers

By 2020 the state retirement age will have risen to 66 for men and women alike and the removal of the compulsory retirement age combined with increasing living costs means that people will struggle to live comfortably on their pensions. One in five workers do not expect to retire until they are over 70.

Benefit programmes and schemes need to be adapted to an older workforce as in many organisations they are currently swayed towards the younger demographic. Adapting benefit packages to a variety of age ranges and ever changing employee demand is something which employers should be carrying out already, however, employers need to review and revise their benefit offering in order to ensure that they are catering to both young and old employees. One key challenge which seems to crop up in most workplaces is the perception of the over 60’s age bracket. Tackling the general perception that working life does not end at 60 is one key obstacle which will have rippling effects.

Which benefits are most popular?

Flexible working was voted the most valued employee benefit in 2011 with 47% of the vote and in my view it is the benefit which is most valued by the older demographic in order to make the work/life balance easier. Lifestyle products will also be popular as they help with living costs, as will flexible benefits schemes which enable employees to make their salary stretch further.

Ensuring that older workers still have opportunity to grow within the business and rewarding and recognising their contributions is important to ensure that they are happy at work. It is important not to assume older workers are motivated by money as they have the life experience which enables them to appreciate saving schemes and benefit programmes. Implementing an effective benefit and reward programme can boost the overall morale of older workers and give them reassurance that they are not excluded from the business.

Don’t forget to recognize Long Service

In the current economic climate companies who introduce Long Service Awards at fairly early and frequent time intervals demonstrate that their organisation values and rewards loyalty. One of our retail clients has issued over £100,000 worth of Long Service Awards and another large consultancy organisation has delivered over £50,000 worth of awards to their long serving employees. Older workers often clock up many years of tireless service for their employer. Make sure you deliver long service awards that are appropriate to the loyalty shown and you’ll keep your older workforce happy and content.



John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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