A company's most valuable asset is human capitol. While service to the customer is the primary focus and concern in the marketplace, the savvy administrator or business owner must not neglect the internal customer, their workforce.
Employers are seeking consultation about trends in satisfying workers, and this is the message they are hearing and the plan of action they are following. A satisfied employee will not only be a higher performer, but their comments to co-workers, families and acquaintances about their employer can be invaluable positive advertising. The apprehension regarding "forced retirement" hangs over the head of many who are approaching pre-retirement age and that message is not positive.
Why you should make employees feel valued
An individual who knows they are an integral part of a company's functioning, and not "disposable," will feel more secure and focus on long-range benefits they can bring to the table. Businesses are tending to seek advice from consulting services more on workplace enhancement and acknowledging to the worker their intrinsic value than for assistance with disciplinary matters.
Much has been written about the value of longevity in the workplace. Generational differences regarding the attitude toward work also raises the older aged and longer employed worker to the top of the value heap. Knowledge and expertise acquired over 20-plus years in a particular industry is difficult to replace without an increase in number of employees, or expensive outsourcing. The time and person-power involved in training a new employee, even if highly technically skilled, to replace a seasoned worker is costly and often frustrating.
Solutions for elderly employees
So, what are solutions to address concerns coming from both aspects, both the employer looking to effectively cut costs without depriving staff members of their "go-to elders," and the 57- to 65-year-old employees who would like to start enjoying some benefits of semi-retirement without sacrificing pension, health insurance, or savings plans?
Creative modern plans can include:
- Offering early retirement plans with caveats such as cost-effective health care for employee and dependents and pension enhancement on a graded scale by age or years of service.
- Plans for their staff members who are over 65 with a long service history, that include additional gifts or lump sums of cash.
- For those on the younger end of the longevity spectrum who cannot access annuities without penalty, businesses appear to be more open to thoughts of job- or shift-sharing, increasing company matching, or allowing for "consultant"-style mentoring positions so that an early retirement offer can be accepted but the employee continues to draw a paycheck.
While these mean cash up front, they can save costs for the business as long as employee replacement plans are effectively executed. And, they must be truly voluntary and offer what employees need most for the first few years after partial or full retirement. Any such opportunity should be free of the trappings of being mandatory.
From the prospective retiree standpoint, dedication to self-care and enjoyment while health and family are still intact holds immense value. The heyday of the Type A personality appears to be dimming. Employers who understand that wellness and satisfying time outside of work must be a high priority even in a changing economy will help workers gain security and be rewarded for their investment of time and dedication.
www.afcpe.org "How Financial Stress in Affecting the Workplace"
www.huffington post.co.uk/Charles Wookey/Mentalhealth-workplace "How Mental Health in the Workplace and Corporate Purpose Are Irrevocably Linked"