With the average retirement age set to increase six months year upon year, employers have been left to contend with the problems of an aging workforce.

Research collected by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealed that businesses and employers are highly unprepared to deal with the task, with just 14 percent having a strategy in place to effectively manage a shift in their workforce demographic. An increase in the average working age is also set to cause a number of changes to employment policies and procedures, placing an emphasis on age equality.

There are two key issues employers must consider: firstly, how to engage and retain older workers, secondly, how to replace experienced talent.

1. Employee Engagement

Typically when we think of incentives and targets we automatically assume these are methods used to retain and reward graduates or new employees, however this could not be further from the truth. Progression should not be limited to the less experienced members of staff. Challenges should be followed with rewards where the target is met, creating a working environment where progression is encouraged.

It is vital senior members of the team do not feel over looked or stagnant in their role as opportunities to progress simply pass them by. Mentoring schemes are simple yet effective way of encouraging staff to share their knowledge with other team members. Introducing age friendly progression policies can have numerous benefits for employers, reducing high levels of employee turnover as well as rates of unauthorised absence.

Workplace flexibility is also vital in retaining employees. Regardless of age, all employees have commitments outside of the office that may occasionally interfere with professional arrangements. Embracing flexible working can boost individual and wider business performance creating a mutual trust and respect between employers and their workforce.

2. Sourcing Talent

Replacing experienced talent need not be as daunting as it initially sounds. Loosing a dedicated team member will always be a bitter sweet moment; however it also creates an opportunity to source new talent. Implementing an internal development structure is a great method of grooming new talent, particularly for specialist roles. This ensures when an employee is nearing the age of retirement that there is a successor smoothing the transition.

As always in HR and employment law matters adopting a proactive approach is vital in minimising the disruptive impact it may have upon a business. The UK’s aging workforce is a problem that cannot be resolved, however the benefits can far outweigh the negatives with the correct HR practices in place.

Here at Farleys our specialist HR & employment team offer advice and support across the full spectrum of employment law. For advice regarding policies and procedures, flexible working, and recruitment call 0845 050 1958. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.