Changing the way older workers are managed and providing them with flexible work options will bode well for financial services companies looking to make the most of this vital sector of the workforce. As with gender diversity, diversity in age also ensures an organisation has a range of skills and experience contributing to decision making, which in turn leads to positive outcomes for the business. Planning ahead is key.

In my previous post, I looked at some of the challenges the financial services industry faces because of the aging workforce. In this post, I reveal how financial services companies can face the issues head on and be forward-looking in their approach.

Making the most of changing demographics in your workforce

Taking the time to study what Baby Boomers and Millennials want and need in today’s workplace is crucial to success. Millennials are now the largest population dominating the workforce. As the older generation continues to exit the workplace, helping each group work together is critical for long-term stability.

The incoming Millennial generation are digital natives who don’t subscribe to the workplace structure familiar to Baby Boomers. They are looking for companies that are socially responsible and encourage flexible schedules and work environments. They want a wide variety of professional experiences early in their careers and are not looking to climb the corporate ladder. A variety of on-the-job training and mentoring opportunities is also high on their list of needs.

Baby Boomers are looking to exit the workforce on a graduated timeline, as they desire economic stability as well as the opportunity to continue contributing to their organisations. These older workers have invested in company culture and there are many seasoned leaders among this group. They also recognise that culture is changing as a multi-generational workforce becomes a reality. Baby Boomers have a unique perspective and a set of skills and talent that must be leveraged. This generation is in an ideal position to mentor Millennials. 

Planning for today and the future

Financial services firms should be forward-looking in their approach to the blended workforce and adopt the following techniques.

Develop an overarching plan based on the company’s unique circumstances. This includes creating alternative work schedules, encouraging formal mentorships, initiating knowledge transfer, spearheading succession planning, and being open to developing benefit and retirement packages tailored to each generation. In addition, extended, virtual workforces can be introduced into the mix, further changing how and when work is done and meeting the need for a paradigm shift in management.

Leverage broader best practices to meet evolving needs. Financial firms can benefit by looking outside the industry to see what is working well for other companies. For example, for older workers, some companies have put mechanisms in place that allow the hiring of part-time, casual workers that do not receive a pension but do get some benefits.

Foster an environment that enables career autonomy. Increasingly, employees are looking to create their own career capital across functions, while at the same time seekingwork-life integration, innovative work environments, challenging work and opportunities for advancement. Digital innovations will allow the workforce to be more diverse and agile in terms of adapting to new roles over time.

Bridging the aging workforce gap is more than just about ensuring the transfer of knowledge and experience. Everyone involved must adjust to new ways of working, whether with new technology or in how the workplace is viewed by older versus younger employees. Management must make adjustments to recruit and retain these very diverse generations. Nothing can begin or succeed without a strategic plan.

Proactive preparedness will allow for smooth transitions and a more productive use of all workforce segments, which, in turn, will drive profitability.

You might also be interested in reading: The Changing Financial Services Business Environment – Threat or Opportunity? 

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