3 key considerations to improve the social wellbeing of an ageing workforce

Employee demographics are constantly evolving and there is now an increased number of older workers. This ageing workforce is caused by people living longer and younger generations having less children. 

Older workers

With this larger quantity of older employees, businesses may struggle to support their employee’s needs, especially in terms of their social wellbeing. It is therefore worth considering the following factors when thinking about social wellbeing with an ageing workforce: 

Employers may hold stereotypical views of older workers, which can affect employment and development opportunities. These negative stereotypes combined with less development or training activities often means that older generations within the workforce are treated with less respect than their younger counterparts. This can affect social wellbeing, as it is important that all employees feel happy and appreciated within the workplace. 

Age is a characteristic which is protected under the Equality Act 2010. This means that you can not discriminate against any employees because of their age. This law, however, does not eradicate all sense of bias, especially unconscious opinions employers may have. 

In order to support your employee’s social wellbeing, it is vital that you supply all employees within your workforce with a sense of inclusion and belonging. These emotions are key factors to your employee’s satisfaction. This can be achieved by eradicating as much ageism as possible by providing all employees with opportunities to train, learn and develop.

With an ageing workforce, you are likely to have many employees who are slowly getting closer to their retirement date. If retirement is not planned or discussed, this could lead to uncertainty and decreased wellbeing for employees within the business. 

We now live in an environment where most of us are auto-enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. However, even with the latest mandatory contribution levels, many employees question whether they are putting enough away. Today, the problem may not be with getting employees to sign up for a pension, but there appears to be a shortage of those who understand and engage with the scheme they are in. 

As a business, it is beneficial that part of your retirement strategy involves initial and ongoing communication and support to your employees. When a new employee joins your company, talk to them about the pension system you have in place. Then, make sure to continue to engage with them regarding retirement throughout their career with you. This can be done through staff meetings, noticeboards or online portals. These online platforms allow employees access to a portal in which information regarding pensions and other employee benefits are always available and easy to find. 

Online platforms are great tools in communicating with your employees. When your employees understand their pension, you will decrease stress and increase satisfaction within the workplace. This will support your employee’s social wellbeing and increase employee productivity, which will benefit your business.  

Aging increases the possibility of illness. This is because older individuals become more susceptible to disease and disability. 

Although not all workers will experience health issues, businesses should provide early intervention services in order to look after their employee’s social wellbeing. This can be done through the provision of specific employee benefits such as private medical insurance, employee assistance programmes and health screenings. 

Health screenings allow employees to see where their health is at currently, private medical insurance reduces waiting times and employee assistance programmes provide counselling services to employees with worries that may affect their mental health. These benefits help support employees with their social wellbeing and get them back to work as soon as possible. This reduces sick leave and increases both employee and business productivity.  

In order to ensure that an ageing workforce remains happy, it is important that you are aware of age discrimination, train all employees, provide the right communication around pensions and supply your employees with benefits that will support your employee’s health. In doing so, not only do you support social wellbeing, you also look after your business. 

This article is provided by Busy Bees Benefits. 

If you'd like to further develop your knowledge about employee wellbeing, a day at the Employee Wellbeing Congress on 20 June in London, is the essential event for you.

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