Employee Benefits for Older Workers
The important role that older employees play in the organisations cannot be understated. According to Galvan (2015), older employees have vast experience in their various areas of specialisation if they are carefully developed and managed. The older employees can be more effective, efficient and efficient thus leading to better performance of the business. Despite the important role that older employees play in their organisations, a number of firms and employers are of the perception that the older employees are change resistant, have low self-esteem and are generally difficult or hard to motivate (Galvan, 2015). Galvan went ahead to state that due to such perceived challenges associated with the older employees, they have lower productivity as compared to the employees who are younger. There have also been arguments that older employees have a higher susceptibility to issues, such as poor health and they granting employees such benefits or even investing in the older employees is not financially sound. On the contrary, the older employees are highly reliable, loyal, have rich skill sets and greater knowledge of the organisation, and have a higher commitment to the organisation and the work. This indicates that older employees’ benefits is an essential element that can be used to boost the performance of the organisation.
Benefit Package That Meets the Needs of All Ages and Demographics of Employees
Employee benefits are an essential element of human resource management that can aid in the achievement of the organisational goals. First, all employees of all demographic groups need training and learning programs as a part of the benefits. Training ensures that the employees of all ages and demographics are well equipped with the skills that are relevant for the various requirements in the workplace (Duath & Toomet, 2016). The training and learning programs play an integral role in enhancing the skills and employability thus significantly impacting the workplace. Training programs can include those offered through government subsidy, for instance, WeGebAU program by the government in Germany (Duath & Toomet, 2016). The program by the German government has been critical in enhancing the employability of the workers especially the older workers. The older workers have been able to increase their chances of staying longer in the workplace.
The other employee benefits that meet the needs of employees of all ages and demographics is work-life balance programs. Landauer (1997) noted that such work-life programs help the employees to experiment with the learning in the workplace as well as to identify their various development needs. The programs help in increasing the motivation, commitment and engagement of the employees thus reducing tardiness and absenteeism. The impact of the work-life programs to the employer includes the saving of time for the employer and reduced absenteeism which can be quantified in financial terms. Apart from the work-life programs, a similar concept that can be applied is the flexible work arrangements. Walker (2007) noted that to achieve success in benefits in order to retain all demographics and ages of employees, the employers should offer reduced or flexible work schedules. The older employees, as well as those of all ages, should be provided with incentives and benefits that allow them to return to work while also taking care of their various needs, such as training, caring for young children, and eldercare, among others. By allowing the flexible work arrangements, the various demographics and ages of employees will not only continue to contribute their skillsets but will also be able to save additional funds into their retirement plans for longer periods of time depending on the age of the employees.
Older Employees’ Benefits
Just like for the various ages and demographics of the employees, the older employees also need a number of benefits to remain committed and motivated in the workplace. Walker (2007) noted that to achieve success in benefits in order to retain older employees, the employers should offer reduced or flexible work schedules. Flexible work schedules help employees to be able to meet their various changing needs – medical, family etc. - while also being able to undertake their various work obligations. The older employers should be provided with incentives and benefits that allow them to return to work while also taking care of their various needs, such as training and eldercare. By allowing the flexible work schedules, the older employers, such as the baby boomers will be able to work longer thereby reaping the various employee benefits. The flexible work arrangements not only help in retaining the older employees but also motivating and aiding in increasing their commitments thus leading to greater productivity.
Secondly, older employees also need training as part of their benefits package. Duath & Toomet (2016) noted that training is critical for older workers as it ensures that they remain in the workplace. The longer the older employees stay in the workplace, the better placed they will be in terms of higher skill levels. Just like Duath & Toomet (2016), Berg, Hamman, Piszczek & Ruhm (2017), undertook a research that focused on the consideration of the relations that exist between the training offered by the employers and the older employee retention. The evolution of technology calls for greater training so that the older workers can be able to effectively navigate the complexity in the workplace. The training programs that are offered to older employees should be geared towards ensuring better or increased salaries. Berg et al. (2017) noted that a higher salary as a result of the various training programs can lead to an increase in the retirement incomes for the older staff. Since the retirement incomes come from various sources, such as pension plans provided by the employer, employer savings plans, personal savings, and social security or even from contribution plans by the employer
Building a Successful Competitive Benefit Package
Sullivan & Duplaga (1997) noted that the employers in the United States may be at a point of facing qualified workers shortages especially in the light of the 18 million jobs that would become available in the future. The qualified worker shortages is bound to face the employers in the US as well as those of Australia especially following the retirement of baby boomers from the workforce (Mountfold, 2010). Surprisingly, the number of older workers is increasing according to Sullivan & Duplaga (1997). Therefore, to build a successful and competitive benefits package for older employees, organisations need to adopt a number of strategies. The success and competitiveness of the benefits package is critical for the organisations as a means of preventing skills gaps in an organisation (Retaining older workers avoids skills gap, 2006).
Walker (2007) noted that employers are continuously looking for ways through which they can offer competitive benefits that can help in retaining the staff. Walker (2007) noted that to achieve success in benefits in order to retain older employees, the employers should offer reduced or flexible work schedules. Flexible work schedules help employees to be able to meet their various changing needs – medical, family etc. - while also being able to undertake their various work obligations. The older employers should be provided with incentives and benefits that allow them to return to work while also taking care of their various needs, such as training and eldercare. By allowing the flexible work schedules, the older employers, such as the baby boomers will be able to work longer thereby reaping the various employee benefits. By allowing the flexible work arrangements, the older employees will not only continue to contribute their skillsets but will also be able to save additional funds into their retirement plans for longer periods of time (Walker, 2007). Research by several studies indicates that the use of flexible work programs, the older employees will be able to contribute their skill sets to the organisation, economy and their vocation or profession. They will also be able to enjoy the work provided social interactions thus aiding in achieving longer lives; both physically and mentally (Walker, 2007).
Just as Walker (2007) stated that flexible work arrangements are important for the development of a successful and competitive benefits package for the older employees, Atkinson & Sandiford (2015) also emphasised the important role that flexible work plans play. According to Atkinson & Sandiford (2015), many companies have adopted flexible work systems and schedules as a model for the development of successful and competitive benefits packages. In implementing policies that allow for flexible work, the older employees are integrated into the organisation thus they feel better to fit with the organisation in terms of feeling valued and needed by the organisation (Atkinson & Sandiford, 2015). Such programs make it attractive for older employees to remain with the companies and extend their working lives. Even though research in the past has focused on the flexible work arrangements for young workers, there has been a growing focus on the ways through which the older workers can be accommodated through flexible work arrangements. Older workers need a flexible work arrangement to allow them to take care of their medical needs, social needs as well as have time for their hobbies.
Finally, training is also an important benefit package that can be developed by organisations. Berg, Hamman, Piszczek & Ruhm (2017), undertook a research that focused on the consideration of the relations that exist between the training offered by the employers and the older employee retention. The research undertaken in German offered evidence that indicated that the ageing employees have a major impact in the workplace and in the workforce of organisations. Berg et al. (2017) noted that Germany is facing a significant demographic transition due to the population decline and ageing of the population. The research indicated that in the next 15 years from 2017, German workforce would lose approximately 5 million employees; a number that would not be filled effectively by younger workers and the immigrants (Berg, Hemman, Piszczek, & Ruhm, 2017). In light of the above reduction in the numbers of employees, training is thus an important benefit package that can be offered to ensure that the older workers are actively engaged in the workforce.