Employers Need to Grapple with Graying Workforce Issue

November 14, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers moving proactively to deal with their aging workforce are implementing effective flexible work arrangements, helping older workers successfully transfer knowledge, and devising creative hiring solutions to bring retirees back into the fold.

That was the conclusion of a new study of the graying workforce issue by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and David DeLong & Associates, an HR consultant specializing in workforce aging issues, according to a MetLife news release.

“As the wave of baby boomers approach retirement, companies are searching for a silver bullet – a one size fits all approach for addressing the needs of an aging workforce,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in the news release. “However, what we learned from this new study is that there is no panacea for addressing the needs of a mature workforce. What’s needed, instead, is a portfolio of strategies and solutions that balance the need to retain older workers while also transferring knowledge to younger workers, so that business performance can be sustained.”

According to the news release, the study found:

  • Employers need to think of phased retirement or flexible work options as a program, not a policy;
  • Employers need to create effective knowledge-sharing relationships between older mentors and younger workers; and
  • Company-sponsored benefits and retirement planning workshops that focus on the economic consequences of leaving the workforce will encourage some employees to remain in the workforce past age 65.

The MetLife Aging Workforce study was conducted during the first half of 2007. While the research focused on four corporate case studies, more than 75 interviews were conducted with managers in 28 organizations identified as leading edge in dealing with the changing workforce. More than a dozen experts on aging workforce issues were also interviewed, according to the announcement.

The study report is here .