Age is But a Number (Or is it?)

My team works in the insurance sector and we are yet to find an industry with such a long mature workforce. Many employees in insurance have worked in the same sector and/or company from the start of their careers, thus making the age of the workforce one of the oldest. Older workers present a growing population in the UK. According to the CIPD, the over 50s make up 31% of the total workforce.

With the FCA championing greater flexibility and progressive culture and recruitment strategies in businesses, it’s a good time for firms to start asking themselves the following questions:

  1. Do you know and track the diversity of your workforce? Strategic workforce planning can assist here as well as highlighting the skills profile of your employees. This data can then be used to inform the recruitment and people management and development practices in the business.
  2. Does your recruitment process eliminate bias? In a nutshell, it should. From the wording of the advert to how hiring managers are trained to review CVs through to the interview itself and decision making.
  3. Can you evidence the level of training and development you offer each member of staff? Training and development will help improve performance management to ensure older workers do not miss out on opportunities. You’ll be less of a radar spot on the FCA’s detector if you can adequately evidence what you do in this space.
  4. Have you got a wellbeing champion in the business? The FCA are focusing on this more and more. It should be on all executive agendas to support the health and wellbeing of their staff. Poor health is one of the biggest reasons for economic inactivity for those in their 50s. Don't ignore that for many approaching retirement, work is all they've ever known. To face saying goodbye to that will be a tough pill to swallow. Support them on that journey. Repay their loyalty by supporting them.
  5. Do you offer robust, compliant flexible working? Changes in working arrangements can support those with ill-health or caring responsibilities. Employees have the right to request flexible work after 26 weeks.
  6. Do you talk to those staff who are approaching their retirement year? As HR professionals, we recommend you have open and honest conversations with older workers without making assumptions about their retirement intentions.
  7. Have you got published succession plans on personnel files for all key roles? If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that things can change at the drop of a hat. How you plan your business around loss of staff, to keep functioning/trading and supporting clients is essential.

If you’re not sure on how the above appear in your business and want us to take the heavy lifting out of it for you and get you match fit, then don’t delay. Please contact the IHRS team via email, call 01604 709509 or visit our website.  

About the author

Katherine is a member of the senior management team at RWA. She has over 20 years’ international experience working in HR, across various sectors, including financial services, insurance and regulated environments. Over the years, she has collaborated with some exceptionally talented HR professionals, with whom she has joined forces on special projects. Her network of HR professionals provides advice and training to companies and other HR teams.

In her role with RWA, Katherine heads up RWA’s Human Resources Consultancy and provides objective support to firms on employment law and HR issues. She uses her extensive skills and knowledge to work with firms to help them develop strong and resilient HR strategies and establish healthy organisational cultures.

Katherine holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Northampton and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Strategies from London Metropolitan University. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD).

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