The United States is entering a time we have never seen before – a time when there are not enough skilled workers to backfill the number of retiring baby boomers at the rate they are leaving the workforce. Since the first of 79 million Baby Boomers began turning 65 in 2010, we have entered a nearly two-decade span in which an unprecedented number of Americans will be retiring. Sources estimate that 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the retirement age of 65 each day in the year 2013. One can only assume that this number will only be higher in 2014. That’s a staggering number of individuals leaving the workforce each business day.
By now you must be asking yourself, what does this mean for you and why should your company care? Due to shifting demographics, companies will now be forced to re-evaluate their HR strategies and programs to cater to skills rather than individuals. We spoke during our Hangout this week about the importance of identifying those skills your business needs both today and six months down the road. How can you hire the best talent if you are unsure of the skills labor you need to locate externally, versus the skills you need to develop internally? Furthermore, the hiring relationship is no longer 1 to 1 and individual centric, meaning that you do not need to hire a new person for each person that leaves.
Is there a shift in workforce demographics? Yes. But it’s not always a bad thing. Here are some suggestions for you to make the most of this employment shift.
1. Workforce Planning: Ensure your company is adequately staffed and has the right skills and best qualifications to address company challenges at any time. It is imperative that you think ahead and always be conscious of new skills that could benefit your organization and workforce.
2. Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible arrangements for your employees not only meets customer demands, but is also a way to motivate and retain your workforce. Although many companies offer a variety of arrangements, it is also essential that the programs are promoted systematically to the entire organization.
3. Learning & Development: Training and development are critical to corporate performance and capacity development. Are your Training and Leadership Development initiatives building the right types of competencies? At the right time or too late? Additionally, older employees prefer different learning procedures to younger employees and also learn differently based on the competency being taught. These facts must be kept in mind when developing and evaluating your learning and development initiatives.
4. Healthcare Management: An aging workforce requires you take a new approach to healthcare management. Whether it is through special training programs or a completely redesigned health contract, it may be time your company addressed such issues and began offering competitive health plans.
5. Compensation and Incentive Packages: Employees generally do not leave a company if the pay and benefits exceed, or even match, competing employer offers. But an aging workforce that lives and works longer also requires more healthcare and benefits. Attractive compensation packages are typically performance oriented, independent of age, are tailored to individual needs, and explicitly include recognition as an attraction.
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Jamie is the manager of marketing at Jobscience and recently graduated with her M.S. in Organizational Development. An innovative, vibrant, hard-working young professional who strives to further her career, explore new horizons, and face new challenges. Industrial Organizational Psychologist with a passion for developing employees, enhancing collaboration, and instituting processes that empower organizations to the highest level of performance. Connect with me on linkedin and let's chat all things talent management!
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