Get­ting the most out of older work­ers Steps to sup­port and en­gage se­nior em­ploy­ees

Ottawa Business Journal - HR Update - - Demographics -

By El­iz­a­beth How­ell

The days of em­ploy­ees au­to­mat­i­cally re­tir­ing at the age of 65 are go­ing the way of the three-mar­tini work­ing lunch. Cana­di­ans are liv­ing longer and health­ier lives than past gen­er­a­tions and are un­will­ing – or fi­nan­cially un­able – to spend decades in re­tire­ment. Many keep work­ing well into what was once con­sid­ered tra­di­tional re­tire­ment years to stay ac­tive or build a nest egg.

It’s a trend the fed­eral govern­ment is ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing.

Start­ing in July, those el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive Old Age Se­cu­rity pen­sions will see their pay­outs in­crease by 0.6 per cent for ev­ery month they de­lay re­ceipt, up to a max­i­mum of 60 months.

With se­nior em­ploy­ees stick­ing around longer, there are ways that work­places can make the en­vi­ron­ment more invit­ing. Here are some tips from HR ex­perts whose com­pa­nies have a pres­ence in Ot­tawa:

It’s dis­crim­i­na­tory for an em­ployer to as­sume a young woman will take time off to have chil­dren, points out Heather Cameron, an Ot­tawa as­so­ciate at law firm Nor­ton Rose Ful­bright. Sim­i­larly, make sure not to un­der­es­ti­mate other groups of work­ers. “You shouldn’t as­sume an older worker wants to wind down. They may want to gear up,” she says.

“Older work­ers may be more prone to in­jury,” says Ross Coyles, a Toron­to­based prin­ci­pal in Mercer’s hu­man cap­i­tal di­vi­sion. “The em­ployer has to be more mind­ful of that, and quite frankly, de­velop more bar­ri­er­free kinds of en­vi­ron­ments.” In On­tario, many of th­ese pa­ram­e­ters are cov­ered by fol­low­ing manda­tory guide­lines un­der the Ac­ces­si­bil­ity for On­tar­i­ans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, work­ers in their twen­ties and thir­ties are far more com­fort­able with so­cial me­dia and other im­per­son­al­ized com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools than their older coun­ter­parts, says Adam Reeve, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of hu­man cap­i­tal man­age­ment with Cerid­ian. At any rate, he adds, in-per­son con­ver­sa­tions are es­sen­tial to any work­place. “The most im­por­tant de­ci­sions in busi­ness and per­sonal life are done face to face, and that’s not a skill we want to lose in the work­force.”


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