The Bagg Group held its Annual Breakfast Brief, Boomer Bust, with panelists Gary Burkett of Fedex, Lynn Roger of BMO and Warren Bell of Omers. The HR experts spoke about the implications of having an enormous percentage of workers approaching retirement age.
There are many myths about the older employee, and the panelists debunked all of them. They said the notion that the older employee is less engaged and committed, and is working with one foot on the golf links, is simply not true. To the contrary, the boomer brings a strong work ethic and experience to the company.
A 2009 Ipsos Reid poll showed that one-quarter of Canadian baby boomers plan to delay retirement in part because of financial reasons but also because people are staying younger, longer. Those in their late 50s and 60s said they still feel energetic and interested in contributing to the workplace.
What’s more, forward-thinking companies are offering such flexible arrangements as reduced hours, special assignments, temporary work, job sharing, part-time work, consulting and telecommuting as an alternative to full retirement,.
The ultimate strategy for success, say the panelists, is to focus on employee engagement, across the board. Mentoring programs, leadership training, and multi-generational teams that allow people to learn from each other are powerful tactics to promote engagement.
In Australia, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has set up a website to dispel any concerns about hiring older workers. The site uses facts and figures to make the case that mature workers are significantly less likely to resign, call in sick less often, and experience fewer work injuries.
Australian studies show that mature workers deliver an average net benefit of $1,956 per year to their employer compared to the rest of the workforce – a result of increased retention, lower rates of absenteeism, decreased costs of recruitment and greater investment returns on training.
At The Bagg Group, recruiters focus on skills and attitude, not age, to match the right person to the right job. The result has been more than 57,000 people placed successfully over 40 years. The panelists urged the large audience to take the same approach.