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Employers Need to Innovate to Retain Seasoned Employees

Posted Sep 12 2008 2:00pm

Do you want to continue to work for income past "retirement" age? Are you prepared to entirely relinquish the joys (and frustrations) of your workplace even if you believe you have enough money to live on comfortably for the next decades of your life?

The National Conference on theNew Human Resources Frontier: Utilizing Older Workers for Competitive Advantagemet in Washington D.C. in June of 2007 and discussed some topics that might interest you if you'd like to continue to be engaged in your career in some way into your 60s, 70s, and even older.

Here's some recommendations from the symposium:

  • Employers need to attract and retain older workers with non-traditional benefits like flexible hours, tuition reimbursement, snow-bird schedules that allow for a sabbatical during the winter, and telecommuting
  • They need to establish affinity groups or professional networking groups for older workers
  • Provide environmental changes in the office such as "plug and play" workstations, larger key pads, and ergonomically-sound workspaces
  • Create mentorship opportunities so seasoned workers can pass on their knowledge
  • Offer wellness programs to assist people to remain active and healthy

It is the smaller companies that benefit most from putting benefits in place to retain and rehire older workers since they have fewer amenities to hold workers in the first place. And their experienced workforce is more easily depleted.Their challenge is to provide the kind of flexibility that will attract the mature employees.

The stereotype that retaining older workers is expensive and increases health care costs is acknowledged, but offset, they believe, by other strengths such as lower absenteeism, dependability, general experience and wisdom, and more mellow moods.

What has been your experience in influencing your employer to create flexible work arrangements if you want to remain employed part-time or during warm weather, as a mentor, or for time-limited projects? Write a comment here on the blog or write to me at

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