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Human Capital: Perpetuation in A Graying workforce

Thursday, July 11, 2013

There are many potential implications associated with the aging workforce that employers are faced with today. Many organizations are beginning to understand that their longer-term business strategies have the potential to be compromised if the population of baby boomers currently in the workforce happens to retire at around the same time.

Many believe that older workers are more expensive and less productive than younger groups, but this conventional wisdom may leave you out of an opportunity to maximize talent base.

As baby boomers continue to retire, many vacancies in your workforce will be filled by the next generation: millennial workers. Theres’s no doubt that recruiting the millennial generation can bring hardworking, enthusiastic employees who are eager for new opportunities, but recruiting and retaining these workers is proving to be much different than it was for prior generations. You can make the most of millennial workers by taking a new approach to recruiting and retention.

Aging Workforce Implications 

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. The key to turning this issue into a business opportunity starts with a better understanding of its advantages and challenges.

  • Older workers are somewhat less likely to be disengaged and slightly more likely to be moderately or highly engaged at work than younger groups, according to a recent Towers Perrin Talent Report.
  • Because disengaged workers are more likely to leave their employers, it presents a retention risk for employers. This could mean a higher cost to the organization due to the high expense of employee turnover.
  • Turnover costs can be as much as 50 percent of an annual salary for many positions, so the benefits of maintaining a stable workforce and avoiding turnover often exceeds the increased compensation and benefits costs of aging workers. Because of this, the cost to hire and maintain older workers can be quite reasonable.
  • Hiring or retaining additional 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 decline in manual dexterity.
  • Obviously, average pay tends to increase with service and age, but this can also result from movement up the career ladder in an organization. So, older employees are not necessarily more expensive in terms of pay.
  • Although healthcare claims costs do tend to increase with age and are on average higher for workers nearing retirement age, costs can also vary due to many underlying factors. A study conducted by the University of Michigan Health Management Center found that age may be less of an influence in increased health care costs than factors such as individual health risk and proper health care utilization.

Recruiting and Retaining Millennial Workers 

Recruiting and retaining employees from this generation can be much different than some traditional techniques previously used by many organizations. Here are some ideas for recruitment and retention.

  • Have existing millennial employees assist in your recruiting efforts.
    • These individuals can go to job fairs and discuss the day-to-day details of their jobs while also touching on some topics that may interest other millennial workers, such as company philanthropy efforts or flexible scheduling.
    • A company executive should also attend any recruiting sessions to support younger employees and answer questions.
  • Avoid PowerPoint® presentations when possible.  Instead impress them with animation software and other new technology.
    • Since many younger workers watch YouTube™ and log on to social networking sites regularly, they are not impressed by slides. However, a presentation done with animation software can interest them as much as a well-designed website.
    • Flash presentations are also instantly customizable, so you can gear your presentation to your audience.
  • Recruit employees online using job boards, career building sites and industry-specific forums. Many millennial workers will look to these sites before thinking of applying to companies in a more traditional way.
  • Allow potential employees to apply virtually through your company website or through a career site. Avoid using paper applications that are tedious and take a lot of time to fill out.
  • Connect your employees with the issues that are important to them.
    • According to, millennial workers want to find substance in their lives, which includes their careers. To motivate them, offer on-staff career coaching so employees can move around the company and hold different positions. This will produce loyal employees who want to stick with your company for the long haul.



Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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