Priority Personnel Blog

HR Responds as Older Workers Delay Retirement

September 6th, 2011

U.S. workers are working longer – and retiring later.  Why?

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence Survey (as reported by Workforce.com):

  • about 36 percent of respondents cite the poor economy;
  • 16 percent say their lack of faith in Social Security is forcing them to postpone retirement;
  • 13 percent claim they simply can’t afford to stop working.

As a result, workers say they are more than twice as likely to work up to age 70 or older – a 25 percent increase from just a decade ago.

Rising numbers of older individuals remaining in the workforce creates both challenges and potential benefits for employers.  On the one hand, workers delaying retirement adds pressure to companies already struggling to reduce payroll as profit dwindles.  A glut of older workers also threatens to clog the talent pipeline for organizations who want to bring in new employees – at lower salary levels.

On the other hand, companies for which knowledge loss is a concern stand to gain a welcome benefit from a more mature workforce – less “brain drain.”  Key managers have more time to plan for the departure of older workers, and therefore can be more strategic in retraining or transferring institutional knowledge.

As older workers continue to delay retirement, HR needs to respond by reevaluating the way they manage human capital.  Instead of paying older workers to retire, HR should look for creative ways to take advantage of the shift in workforce demographics:

  • Create cross-mentoring relationships. In a traditional mentor relationship, older, more experienced workers share knowledge with their less experienced counterparts.  When it comes to technology, however, younger employees are often more savvy.  Organizations can foster reverse mentorships, in which younger workers share their knowledge in areas like online social networking.
  • Find new ways to attract younger workers. In a time when career advancement is likely to become more difficult, organizations should focus on new ways to bring top performers on board.  When HR can’t necessarily offer rapid upward mobility to new talent, they can offer lateral movement.  Lateral moves can help younger employees broaden their knowledge bases, become more valuable to the employer (increasing job security) and become more marketable overall.

Priority Personnel can help your organization proactively manage its personnel needs as our workforce changes.  We provide temporary, temp-to-hire and direct placement services to employers throughout Central Texas.  We are able to recruit and assess candidates for the following types of positions:

  • Light Industrial
  • Office/Clerical
  • Technical
  • Professional
  • Retail

How will your organization address the shifts in workforce demographics?  We at Priority Personnel would like to know.  Please leave your comments below.

Time Out! U.S. Workers are Foregoing Vacation Plans, But is This Really in Your Company’s Best Interest?

July 5th, 2011

Work/life balance.  It’s one of those nebulous issues with which employers continually wrestle.  On the one hand, work needs to be done.  On the other hand, the pressure to get that work done can lead to a host of problems which zap employees’ productivity.

Financial constraints and demanding work schedules have made work a higher priority than ever for Americans.  A recent study by CareerBuilder shows that, as a result, many U.S. workers are foregoing vacation plans this year:

  • 24 percent of full-time workers say they can’t afford to take a vacation in 2011, up from 21 percent in 2010.
  • An additional 12 percent can afford a vacation but don’t have plans to take one in 2011.

While these statistics may mean more total hours worked in your organization, your company might actually see greater benefits from encouraging employees to take time-off.

Why?

Overwork can increase absenteeism, burnout and turnover, and make employees more prone to errors on the job.  Conversely, workers with a healthy work/life balance tend to have less burnout, greater creativity and higher quality output.  And when things get stressful on the job, “balanced” employees are better equipped to handle the burden.  Bottom line, taking time-off is vital not only to an employee’s well-being and performance, but to your company’s, too.

As our economy heals, here are a few recommendations for encouraging your workers to take the time-off they need, while keeping your business running smoothly:

  • Require sufficient notice.  If you don’t have one, develop formal policy outlining guidelines for taking vacation (i.e., giving adequate notice, coordinating with other employees’ requests for time-off, scheduling time-off before or after big projects/events, etc.).  The more lead-time you have, the better equipped your company will be to handle the extra workload.
  • Encourage shorter, more frequent breaks. If employees can’t take a number of days off at once, suggest they take long weekends or midweek breaks.  Shorter vacations still afford employees the ability to recharge, with less disruption to your workflow.
  • Ensure adequate coverage. Require employees to cross-train and prepare co-workers, to ensure adequate coverage while they’re gone.  At a minimum, ask employees to review: critical responsibilities, upcoming deadlines, where information is stored, key contacts and parameters for reaching them while they’re on vacation.
  • Lead by example. Are you a workaholic?  If so, here’s a perfect reason to reform your ways.  Management support for work/life balance is critical and must come from the top.  Set an example of maintaining a healthy balance and make it known that the same is expected from rank-and-file employees, too.
  • Call Priority Personnel for the support you need. If your business is like most, your staff is already stretched thin.  When one person goes on vacation, it can be difficult for others to manage the additional workload.  Call Priority Personnel to provide the talented, reliable individuals you need during vacation periods.  Our employees hit the ground running and keep your business running smoothly, so your employees can take the time-off they deserve.