As I was knuckling down to the serious business of de-cluttering, I began to think of the clutter that is worn out beliefs and practices in our workplaces. You know what I mean, the old thinking that affects who we hire and how we staff — the thinking that no longer rings true, at least not in our current work world.
Here are some examples of old thinking that should be thrown out when doing your business spring cleaning:
Old Thinking: “As our employees retire, we’ll fill their positions with new college grads.”
Today’s Reality: Demographics have changed. The number of younger workers with the education and skills to replace Baby Boomers is not large enough—or growing fast enough—to make up for the older generation’s departure. Employers will need to consider additional sources to fill their talent gaps. In the next two decades, mature workers will be the largest source of talent for jobs requiring advanced manufacturing skills or advanced education in science, technology, engineering and math.
Old Thinking: “Retirees are just that – retired! They’re all about island hopping in the winter and spending the summer at the cabin.”
Today’s Reality: The Pew Research Center predicts that retirement-aged workers will fuel 93% of the growth in the U.S. labor market through 2016. Many mature workers are interested in continuing to pursue work interests even after they’ve officially retired from their last employer. In a survey of experienced workers (ages 45-75) published in 2013 by AARP, 70% indicated they planned to work during retirement. More than half (52%) expect to work part time, with 29% of those expecting to work part-time primarily for enjoyment and 23% expecting to work part-time primarily for the income. Certainly mature workers are looking for flexibility in the hours they work and where they perform that work – but many are looking for ways to continue to use their skills.
Old Thinking: “It would be too costly for us to make the kinds of changes in our workplace that would attract older workers.”
Today’s Reality: Mature and younger workers share many of the same needs and preferences, so HR practices that appeal to mature workers—such as workplace flexibility—will also appeal to younger workers.
Old Thinking: “If we have more work than our employees can comfortably handle, working them harder is our only recourse.”
Today’s Reality: Dedicated employees often adjust their work scheduled on their own to meet the challenge of additional work. But when this is a chronic situation, you run the risk of burning out your most valuable employees – or losing them to greener pastures. Bringing in temporary staff to expand capacity signals to your full-time employees that you care about their mental and physical health.
You may find that other bits of worn-out conventional wisdom may govern your HR practices. Consider some spring cleaning! To learn more about how other Life Science companies have partnered with us to overcome hurdles and capacity issues, and tapped into our mature professional talent pool, contact me at 612.703.4236 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Talencio, LLC has been the preferred provider of vetted, accomplished professionals to the Life Sciences community for more than seven years.
The Aging Workforce: Leveraging the Talents of Mature Employees. SHRM Foundation, 2014.
Phillips, D. R., & Siu, O. (2012). Global aging and aging workers. In J. W. Hedge & W. C. Borman (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of work and aging. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.