When searching through the help wanted ads there seems to be thousand and thousands of available jobs; this number increases daily as companies have employees leave the organization. More and more employees are retiring or are nearing retirement age; once these employees leave so does all the years of experience acquired during their tenure with the company. This is going on in many industries and one industry that I am personally familiar with is corrections. The corrections industry has a vast number of older, seasoned employees retiring and with each year more are leaving the workforce. Added value of aging workforce when recruiting
The population is aging and as people get older more are leaving the workforce. As those known as baby boomers age and begin to leave the labor force their will be fewer workers available to fill those positions. The majority of specialized jobs, professionals such as educators and managers, and government workers are older workers. With the changing work environment, such as the utilization of technology the HR recognizes the need of older workers in particular to acquire or refresh their skills. New technologies may intimidate older workers that are reluctant to learn the skill; which lack of the skill may limit advancement opportunities. However, more employees are working past the age of 65. This may be for several reasons. Some older people work longer because of a desire to feel “alive” and needed. Others work because of insufficient retirement plans or financial distress. Whatever the reason is there are many workers passed retirement age still active in the work force. At the state prison where I am employed the majority of managers and supervisory staff are over fifty. There was little room for advancement for new employees because the older workers were not retiring, but working after thirty even forty years of service. Challenges/Issues HR faces from aging workforce
One major issue that employers face with an aging workforce is retaining older employees. Compared with the past, older the number of older workers can be expected to grow disproportionately in the years to come. Organizations losing experienced employees that have skills and knowledge critical to the success of the organization make efforts to convince aging employees to remain with the organization, if only on a part-time basis. When an organization loses experienced workers the HR managers anticipate a loss of knowledge and talent and also offer benefits and flexible scheduling in order to retain employees. Currently, my organization is facing the exact dilemma. In the Records department there are ten employees, six which have been employed over twenty five years and are eligible to retire. Of these six eligible employees, there are four employees that are retiring this year; two of which are the office supervisors. Since HR has learned of their intention it has offered bonuses, salary increases, promotions, and flex schedules to convince them to stay. None of them have taken the offers and did not consider the option. Another issue is numerous job vacancies in the near future. The recruitment process will be draining on resources such as time, staff, and compensation because of the dwindling pool of younger workers. Moreover, it may be difficult to find new workers with the appropriate skills required to perform job duties effectively.
Another issue is health issues such as chronic conditions which may lead to excessive leave time taken by aging employees. However, the implementation of better wellness programs and similar initiatives offers possible ways of avoiding excessive time off for illness. Another issue with the aging workforce will be age discrimination. With older Americans still in the workforce, an increasing number of lawsuits regarding age can be anticipated in the future.
“Thriving” employer brand
An employer brand is the image of that an organization. It is a positive way to promote the organization either among employees or stakeholders. It is that employer brand that attracts potential employees and stakeholders. It is what makes someone want to invest capital and be connected to the organization in some way. According to Minchington and Estis there are six steps to an employer brand. These six steps are determine how branding is viewed within the organization, define the employer brand and project scope, relation between HR, marketing, and communications, discovering the employer brand, CEO and senior management involvement, and communications planning (2009). In my organization the “thriving” brand is public safety, public service, social responsibility, and striving for excellence. The organization has received a lot of recognition for its efficiency and its stellar performance in keeping the community safe and giving back to the community. The name of the organization alone is a brand in itself and several of our compliance officers travel throughout the United States to assist other agencies with becoming a “thriving” brand as well. There are always new people looking to become employees or those that are writing stories or articles on the organization.
Qualitative and quantitative data HR may gather to show value added by aging workforce
Qualitative data is characterized attributes and characteristics; quantitative data is measured numerically. HR can use some quantitative data to measure employee productivity. Some of examples would be number of units produced, number of days missed, number of errors, and number of disciplinary action. This information can be tracked monthly, quarterly, or yearly. This can help HR determine if the employee is an average, poor, or great employee. Personally, I think this information can be leading because it does not take contributing factors into account such as illness. An employee could have had no absences for years and then may become ill and had to miss many days. If the data collected only shows attendance for the past month it looks as if the employee has poor attendance; which is not true but merely a recent and isolated incident (www.smallbusinesschron.com). Qualitative data is what is gathered through human observations. These observations can include observing workers work habits, attitude, behavior, or any factor that may affect his/her ability to perform their job effectively (www.smallbusinesschron.com). This is reliable information to a point because everyone works differently. What seems counterproductive to one may be effective for another. One also has to consider the observer may not be objective and may see things through tinted glasses. Using both methods can add value to an aging workforce but it can also devalue it as well.
The aging workforce is definitely a concern for HR because once these people leave the organization there will be many vacancies to fill and a small pool of qualified workers to fill those vacancies. Although workers are working longer the future of many organizations are definitely are in jeopardy. As the baby boomers retire and begin to enjoy their golden years there will be no one left in the workforce to replace them.