If you think your senior employees are counting down the days until they can enjoy a life of pure leisure, you may be wrong. A new survey conducted by Merrill Lynch, a financial management and advisory company, found that 72 percent of pre-retirees over the age of 50 plan to work in retirement. Add to these the 47 percent of current retirees who have worked or are planning to work during their golden years and it’s likely that employers who want to take full advantage of this demographic will increasingly need to find ways to engage older workers.
Offer the right benefits and it will be easier to retain senior staff members after they reach retirement age as well as attract senior jobseekers to available positions. Benefits popular with Baby Boomers include:
- Flexible Hours – Flexible schedules are popular with seniors. In fact, in a 2013 survey by AARP, 72 percent cited schedule flexibility as absolutely necessary in their ideal job. If you’re employing seniors who want to work full time, offer them their choice of standard shifts, or consider 10- or 12-hour shifts that reduce the number of days they need to report to the office.
- Part-Time Opportunities – Not all retirees want to work full time. If your business includes part-time positions, senior jobseekers may be eager to fill them. You can also consider reduced schedules that won’t interfere with their ability to collect Social Security, or job-sharing programs that allow two or more seniors to divide up the hours required for one position.
- Mentoring Opportunities – Your older workers are valuable repositories of knowledge. Set up a mentorship program that will enable them to share their expertise with your younger and newer employees. This will show them you appreciate their proficiencies and they are still a valued member of the team.
- Health Insurance Coverage for Part-Time Workers – Medicare doesn’t cover every health expense, and healthcare can take a big bite out of seniors’ retirement savings. Offering health insurance coverage for your part-time workers will make your company more attractive to older applicants.
- Workplace Wellness Program – Studies have shown that exercise and diet can affect the aging process. Provide your workers with a wellness program that includes perks such as nutrition counseling, healthy cafeteria options, gym memberships or onsite workout equipment and you’ll help them keep their bodies and minds healthier for longer.
- Phased Retirement Program – Unlike a tradition retirement program, a phased program is set up to enable older employees to work part-time while drawing a portion of their retirement income, providing them with the equivalent of a full salary and benefits.
- Financial Planning Assistance – Older employees often appreciate the opportunity to obtain the advice of financial planning experts, whether they intend to continue working after retirement because they haven’t saved enough yet or just don’t want to become bored.
- Long-Term Care Insurance – Designed to help older individuals pay for long-term care and support in their home, an assisted living community or nursing home, long-term care insurance is often a popular supplemental product with seniors.
- Legal Assistance – Seniors who have not yet created a will or estate plan will appreciate the opportunity to obtain free or low-cost advice and assistance from a legal professional.
- Concierge Service – From picking up groceries to wrapping holiday presents, some employers are providing their older workers with the assistance of a concierge service to help with personal errands.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 22.2 percent of the U.S. workforce was age 55 or older as of July 2014. By 2020, they expect 29.3 million of the nation’s workers will be between the ages of 55 and 65. It’s easy to see why it’s in your best interest to engage this demographic of employee. If you’d like additional advice on adjusting your benefits package accordingly, contact your benefits advisor