How to Train an Aging Workforce

There are many options for companies to consider when implementing employee training programs. Training and development companies provide an outsourced method of employee instruction. These firms implement development protocol and facilitate training courses, either onsite or virtually. Firms, such as Acumen Learning, offer both general business and soft skill development, as well as industry-specific knowledge.

“It’s very, very important for companies to really think about the training and re-education of older workers and how they can do that in a cost-effective way,” Zandi said. “Some companies will figure out how, and they’ll be the winners. Human resource departments need to start thinking about this more carefully.”

A training manager can be hired to oversee the promotion of a more productive and knowledgeable workforce and to keep business operations as streamlined and efficient as possible. Alternatively, some businesses may choose to use training eLearning software to supplement programs or as an alternative to these services.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

The ADEA protects people 40 years of age and older from age discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation and conditions of employment, and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is illegal for an employer with 20 or more employees to discriminate against employees based on age.

We live in a society that condones, practices and promotes ageism; it’s no surprise that age-related charges make up a growing number of complaints filed at the EEOC. Between 1997 and 2007, there was an average of 16,000 annual charges filed; from 2008 to 2016, the average annual charges filed rose to 22,200.

Economist Mark Zandi found statistical evidence to support a correlation between an aging workforce and diminishing productivity growth over the last decade. Meanwhile, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the labor force participation rates of people age 55 and over will continue to rise.

Let’s take a quick look at aging in the United States:

  • By 2022, adults ages 55 and older are expected to make up 26 percent of the workforce.
  • The workforce participation rate for people 55 to 64 years old was 64.5 percent in 2012 and is expected to increase to 67.5 percent in 2022.
  • The workforce participation rate for people ages 65 to 74 years was 26.8 percent in 2012 and is expected to increase to 31.9 percent in 2022.
  • People age 75 and over participating in the workforce is expected to increase to from 7.6 percent to 10.5 percent by 2022.
  • By 2060, nearly 25 percent of Americans will be 65 and older.

Below are just a few examples of programs and initiatives companies have implemented to retain, train and hire mature professionals.

  • Goldman Sachs’ Returnship Program helps professionals re-enter the workforce after an extended leave of absence, specifically two or more years. They offer a paid, 10-week program, similar to internships offered to recent college graduates at the beginning of their careers.

  • Barclays supports an older workforce through two initiatives. The Bolder Apprenticeship gives mature job seekers the same opportunity as their 16 to 24 year old counterparts receive in an apprenticeship program; the Barclays Welcome Back Program helps senior-level women return to work following a multi-year career break.

  • OnRamp Fellowship is for law professionals returning to work following a leave of absence to raise children. The fellowship matches experienced law professionals with organizations for 6- or 12-month paid positions.

  • Brooks Brothers accommodates mature workers (one-third of the 20,000 person staff is 55 or older) through “cross training” initiatives. If a mature worker needs to come in late or leave early to tend to personal matters, a colleague is trained to take their place. Each employee gets an allotted 1,400 minutes per year to take as personal time.

  • Amy Scherber of Amy’s Breads makes a point of retaining her older workers. Scherber said she tries to “encourage our younger workers to respect the older workers. I look to the older workers as leaders who can share their experience.”

  • The National Institutes of Health recruits and offers benefits to workers age 50 and over and creates a culture in which mature workers train younger workers. Only six percent retire within the first two years of retirement availability.

HR Services

Training and development services providers usually coordinate directly with human resource departments. G2 Crowd can help you find all of the HR Services your company might need. For example, ADP provides cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions to combine HR, payroll, talent, time, tax and benefits administration, and it also offer business outsourcing services, analytics and compliance services.

HR consulting firms provide businesses with expertise and advice to improve HR services and departments. They offer a wide range of onsite and offsite HR services to businesses, including payroll services, benefit administration services and HR consulting solutions.

Typically, smaller businesses that may not have in-house HR departments outsource work to these agencies or they employ software to tackle accumulating HR tasks. Meanwhile, larger companies often utilize consulting solutions offered by HR agencies to improve productivity within their internal departments.

The services offered by HR agencies vary. Larger firms can offer a wide range of services and serve as a complete outsourced HR department for businesses. Other firms are highly specialized and may only offer services in specific areas. HR consulting firms like Adami Consulting provides full life-cycle HR support for all your business’ human capital needs.

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