3 Ways to Keep Valued Baby Boomers in the Workforce Longer

November 15, 2019 - minute read

As employers struggle to ease the skilled labor shortage, Baby Boomers are becoming a valued commodity. After all, Boomers tend to be highly skilled, and they’re known for their killer work ethic. While their salaries are heftier and some younger workers may resent them, they do add significant expertise to the workforce. 

Except, they’re retiring. In droves. According to Pew Research, 5,900 Baby Boomers retire every day—that’s 2.2 million per year. And they’re taking their skills and knowledge base with them when they go.

Some industries are hit harder than others. In the manufacturing sector, more than one-fourth of the workforce will retire over the next ten years, while in the construction industry, 40% of workers are expected to retire by 2030.

As a result, savvy employers are finding creative ways to entice seasoned workers to stay in the workplace longer. If you operate in an industry that requires experienced workers, you may want to adopt these three strategies, too. 

Design a Phased Retirement Program for Boomers

Abrupt retirements can be traumatic for both employees and employers. A phased retirement program is an increasingly-popular HR tool that enables full-time employees to gradually step down to less-intensive hours and duties, easing the transition.

This approach benefits both parties. It gives older workers—many who take pride in their work and may largely define their identity by it—a chance to adjust to their new roles and routines. It allows seniors to supplement their income while starting to draw retirement benefits (no small thing in today’s economy).

Some phased retirement programs even include financial counseling and transitioning workshops to help get Boomers ready for their new lifestyle.   

At the same time, when employers add structured mentoring/training programs to the mix, older workers’ expertise is leveraged instead of lost. It allows younger workers to benefit from their knowledge and advance their skills, and many older employees find it gratifying, too. Meanwhile, it helps employers avoid the potential “brain drain” created by mass retirements.

Provide Flexible Work Arrangements and Hours

According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, more than half of American workers plan to keep working in retirement—but three times as many want part-time gigs as opposed to full-time jobs. Offering Baby Boomers fewer hours or less-stressful roles may be just what it takes to keep them on board.

This could take any number of forms. Perhaps an employee in a managerial position would relish the role of an individual contributor or independent contractor. Perhaps job sharing is a solution.

Or—assuming your business permits it—perhaps the employee who winters in a warmer climate would welcome seasonal work when he or she is in town.

The bottom line: if you have a key employee who’s approaching retirement, why not tell them you value them and ask what it would take to keep them around? 

Bulk Up on Benefits Geared to Baby Boomers

Some employee benefits appeal more strongly to older workers. If you don’t offer a voluntary long term insurance care plan, for example, consider adding one (it won’t cost you anything). Make sure your dental and vision plans are top notch. Review the age maximums on life insurance and other policies to ensure your plans are as competitive as possible.

In addition, consider offering access to services such as retirement planners and attorneys, as well as seminars and workshops geared to older interests. The possibilities are unlimited.

Some employers are even updating their worksites and equipment to be more ergonomic and therefore kinder to older muscles and joints. For example, some manufacturers are retrofitting their factories with anti-fatigue flooring and sit-to-stand chairs or even providing workers with orthopedic footwear.

A Flexible Approach Calls for Flexible HR Technology

The key is to retaining your Baby Boomers is to find our what your older workers want or need and address it accordingly. What works for one employer and worker may not work for another.

However, when you offer flexible hours, benefits and HR arrangements, you need HR software that bends to your needs—like EPAY’s HCM platform. Our benefits administration platform will keep you in control of complex plan offerings, while our robust scheduling platform makes custom schedules a snap—and part-time Boomers will jump on our shift bidding and swapping functions.

In short, EPAY’s HCM solution adapts to your changing needs, such as retaining workers of various generations. And because it makes everyday HR tasks faster and easier, it frees you up to focus on greater HR goals and challenges—see our at-a-glance infographic

Filed Under: Compliance Human Capital Management Employee Benefits