HR is “off target” when managing mature workers

A new study shows that HR is focusing on the wrong areas and failing to help older workers bring more value to the business

The majority of HR emphasises retirement planning over helping older workers enhance the organisation with their skills and experience, a new study has found.
The research, conducted by Ashridge Executive Education, surveyed 2,000 employees over 50 years old and found that HR was “off target” by failing to align how baby boomers are portrayed, managed and valued within the company with what those individuals actually want from work.
Overall, companies are failing to realise the potential of older workers in spite of campaigns and research conducted in a number of countries showing the benefits of employing this older demographic of workers.
Only one per cent of HR staff felt that older workers required some career development. This matches the common misconception that baby boomers wish to stay in their senior roles and thus block the next generation of workers from coming up the talent pipeline.
However, the research found that these mature employees were ambitious, wanting further growth and development.
“Baby boomers are often in senior positions and are role models for others in the business. If they are not stimulated and engaged at work, the knock-on effect on the motivation levels of others could be enormous,” Carina Paine-Schofield, research fellow at Ashridge, said.
“Organisations also need to think about how the way they perceive and manage older workers impacts on recruitment and their brand image as an employer.”
Instead, the main focus of HR seems to be developing younger generations with any training offered to mature staff including aspects such as retirement and financial planning. This highlights a major mismatch which HR needs to rectify in order to get the most out of any mature workforce.
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