Understanding the Dynamics of an Aging Workforce
Considerations for Employers
Many employers are wary about hiring or even maintaining a primarily aging workforce at their organization despite many possible benefits. Because of the concerns surrounding this talent-management issue, employers must consider the full range of economic implications of an aging workforce, including both cost and productivity factors. And the key to turning this challenge into a business opportunity starts with better understanding its dynamics.
Benefits that Come with Experience
- Hiring or retaining older workers may not cost much more than younger workers simply because these workers could offer enhanced skills such as experience, maturity and engagement.
- Even though cognitive declines can occur with age, knowledge and experience in a field can offset this. Communication and decision-making skills acquired with experience at an organization can often make up for a decline in manual dexterity.
- Older workers are not more likely to get injured or sick than other workers. They also have fewer avoidable absences, a lower turnover rate and less work-related accidents than younger workers.
Strategies for Keeping an Aging Workforce Safe
- Improve lighting and add color contrast where possible around the workplace.
- Eliminate heavy lifts, long reaches and working from ladders.
- Design floors and platforms to be solid and smooth while still allowing some cushioning.
- Reinforce stairs with anti-slip treading.
- Use large video displays and a larger font size on computer screens.
- Install shallow-angled staircases instead of ladders where space permits.
- Utilize telephone equipment with the capability to adjust the volume.
- Increase rotation between tasks to avoid an injury due to repetitive motion.
- Provide an opportunity to practice and develop familiarity with a task.
- Increase the time allotted for making decisions.
- Use ergonomic evaluations to determine areas of improvement for workstations.