Transitioning Older Workers to New Opportunities

As the world faces the significant economic disruption that has followed the pandemic, organisations have a chance to create an opportunity out of the crisis by transitioning older workers to new work models

There is significant need for smart, agile new startups to be launched by older entrepreneurs, for more than 20 years the majority of US startups were launched by people 45 or older. As businesses cut back and restructure their workforces, old workers are going to need to prepare for a different employment landscape.

Transitioning Older workers
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio – Pexels

Older workers are often first to be cut, they are on higher salaries than their younger peers and some may not have some of the newer skills currently in demand. Older employees however are usually the ones with the knowledge and experience as well as the deepest personal networks not just within the organisation but more broadly across the industry and markets they serve.

There are ways to still achieve cost reduction but not just exit the older workforce. By creating new employment options that provide flexibility and opportunity for both the employer and the worker. These might included phased retirement or smart transition plans that enable the employee to make a more gradual exit from paid employment to self employment.

The pandemic has renewed interest and demand for organizations who offer flexible work arrangement to employees, including support for caregiving and parenting. See recent report “The New Social Contract: Age-Friendly Employers.” , in this paper the authors note that the same corporate policies that allow for better work life balance in earlier careers should also be offered to older workers enabling them to extend working lives and gradually phase into retirement.

The strengths of the model include the individuals establishing their own small firms, that could remain team members within the organisation over time. These small firms could also provide significant support back to former employers as brand ambassadors, product evangelists and service advocates.

The Center for Ageless Entrepreneurs has been established to assist both employers and older workers to explore these options further. It is designed as a peer-to-peer support group for those interested in capturing these opportunities to make a better, more valuable and productive work life near the typical end of most people’s careers.

Key Takeaways

  • Older workers are often targeted for redundancy during economic downturn, but the risk is to lose the extensive knowledge, experience and deep personal networks.
  • There is an opportunity to manage the talent in your organisations senior workers and still deliver some cost reduction as they transition into new employment such as Glide to retire or Career Transition strategies.
  • One idea suggested is how organisations can support some employees to establish and transition older workers to their own companies, thereby continuing to deliver value to the employer, achieving the cost saving and creating advocates for the company.
Synopsis of an article from Entrepreneur Asia Pacific
Transitioning Older Workers Into New Opportunities Doesn't Have to Be Hard
by Rick Terrien
Published 16th July 2020

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