Did you know that nearly one-third of the entire US workforce is made up of Baby Boomers, those folks who are in their 50s to late 60s? While some employers are entirely focused on engaging a younger “hipper” workforce, too few are actively trying to engage their more seasoned employees. Why is engaging Baby Boomers critical to any organization? Baby Boomers have the skills, knowledge, and above average work ethics that can be harnessed for ultimate business success.
Advantages of the Baby Boomer Generation
Consider for a moment the value that older employees bring to the table. First, parents who valued a hard day’s work raised them. Baby Boomers are known for being loyal, preferring long term employment to short term assignments. Although they do tend to learn at a slightly different pace, they embrace digital communications and social media.
Mature workers have great interpersonal skills, love sharing their knowledge, and have a lot to offer younger generations of employees. They will often put their work tasks ahead of personal responsibilities. They are focused on their health and living longer, thanks to modern day medical advancements. They have pride in their work and in their professional image. Baby Boomers are also concerned with giving back to the communities they share with other employees, often taking the lead towards positive change.
When you have a Baby Boomer on your team, you have someone who will go the extra mile for your organization. While they may be ultimately dreaming of retirement, many have chosen to stay employed well into their late 60s and even 70s. It’s important to keep these employees actively engaged in the goals of the company to give them a compass to follow.
Keeping Baby Boomers Engaged at Work
Fortunately, there are many ways to create a compensation strategy that can foster engagement for an older workforce. While your current compensation plan may be good, it may not be addressing the specific needs of your Baby Boomers. Here’s how to sweeten the pot with unique incentives.
- Retirement Savings Support – One of the major concerns that all older workers have is whether or not they will have enough money to live comfortably when they retire. Some may also have a lot of debt from buying a home, putting kids through college, and more. To help your Baby Boomers confidently plan their finances for retirement, now is the time to include a session with a financial planner. Help your employees put away as much as they can so they can meet their goals, with generous matching contributions, progressive salary increases, and performance bonuses.
- Phased Retirement Plan – When asked about how they would like to retire, many Baby Boomers indicate they would like to gradually leave their former employer; not abruptly stop working full time. Phased retirement can be an incentive to allow your older workforce to choose a part time or per diem schedule once they get close to their targeted retirement date. Consider allowing flexible scheduling and telecommuting too, so they can ease into their retirement experience.
- Focus on Wellness – Another key to keeping Baby Boomers engaged is to offer on-site wellness services and incentives. As they progress in age, their bodies may need a little extra attention in the form of low impact exercise, healthy foods and beverages, less stress, and regular health maintenance visits to a doctor. Give your older workforce access to discounted gym memberships, incentives to eat well, and a place to walk during their breaks.
To keep Baby Boomers engaged at work, think of low cost and unique perks that they can relate to. Conduct an annual survey of your entire workforce to discover incentives that they will look forward to.
Learn more about engaging different generations at work with this whitepaper: Compensation Challenges for a Multi-Generational Workforce