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28 Aug 2019

Compelling ways to reward the over 65s in your workforce

The modern workforce is more age-diverse than it has ever been. And, as it becomes more common for generation Z, millennials, generation X and baby boomers to share the same workspace, it can be difficult to create a rewards structure that caters to employees of every generation. Particularly those employees who are at the higher end of the age spectrum – the over 65s.


But it is important that businesses do so. As the UK’s population continues to age (18% are over 65 and, by 2030, one in five of us will be over 65) and the traditional retirement and state pension ages continue to increase, over 65s make up a significant percentage of the UK workforce.

Yet, when it comes to rewards, older employees are often left disinterested or uncatered for. According to recent research from BrightHR, just 22% of older workers receive rewards compared to 45% of the 16–25-year-old age bracket.

So, how can we create a rewards programme that compels the over 65s in the workplace?

Staying healthy

One of the inevitable consequences of ageing is that you are forced to pay more attention to your health. Health-related rewards and benefits are, therefore, an important part of any programme aimed at the 65+ workforce. Yet, REBA’s Employee Wellbeing Research (2018) revealed only 18.8% of employers provide employer-paid critical illness insurance.

Support when it comes to looking after their health is important for older employees. It should be a top priority for employers.

Financial wellbeing

Of course, people’s motivations are different depending on what stage of their life they’re at. A parent in their 30s is far more likely to be interested in childcare, for instance, than someone over 65 who is planning for a life beyond work.

Honing an effective retirement plan and offering education and training in financial wellbeing are ways of supporting and engaging those employees who may have questions or concerns about retired life.

Wellbeing key for all

Think wanting to improve wellbeing is the preserve of the younger generation? Think again. A desire for wellbeing-based rewards can be seen across the board. Thomsons Online Benefits’ whitepaper Giving employees a voice on global reward and benefits (2018) shows all generations place importance on physical and mental wellbeing. Assuming older staff won’t be attracted by rewards that aim to improve their wellbeing is a mistake. It’s not just the under 25s who are interested in staying healthy in mind and body.

Access to training

Just because an employee is older it doesn’t mean they are necessarily done with their career progression. Employer-provided training is often focused on the younger looking to progress up the career ladder. But, as retirement age creeps up, those working beyond 65 are often keen to continue to learn and develop their roles. Providing this opportunity through training opportunities and rewards is one way to keep them engaged and motivated. It also shows them their knowledge and experience is still appreciated.

Money still talks

On a similar note, don’t overlook the over 65s when it comes to financial-based rewards. The ‘traditional retirement age’ has become far more flexible in recent years and, as a result, it would be complacent to think older employees aren’t motivated by financial incentives baked into their longer-term performance.

Enjoying work

Let’s face it, people aren’t retiring later because they’re desperate to stay in work. While there are some that want to work for as long as they can, financial responsibilities and alike are keeping people working for longer. And, as much as anyone in the workplace, these older workers want to enjoy what they do. In fact, when asked what their most important life goals were, Thomsons’ whitepaper found that ‘enjoying work’ ranked as the third highest priority for workers aged over 65.

Offering perks like flexible working is one way of helping individuals to have a better work-life balance.

Don’t just generalise

While some generalisations can be made about what rewards will appeal to older workers, it is important to dig a little deeper. At the end of the day, everyone is different and is motivated by different things, so learning as much about your own employees is critical to providing compelling rewards.

Whether through surveys or by more in-depth reviews into their lifestyle, you can collect data that gives you real insights into what different generations are most motivated by. The more you can customise your reward offerings based on what your staff view as priorities, the more you will see the older generation engage with the rewards process.

This article is provided by Firstbeat.

In partnership with Firstbeat Technologies

Firstbeat is the leading provider of physiological analytics for well-being and sports.

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