Here’s an inspiring article from Richard Branson about the effect of ageing in the workplace.
In it he says, among other things, that:
- If a person looks after himself with regular exercise and a good diet, there is no reason why he should not keep going well past 60.
- It’s true that at 60, there are some tasks that suit me better than others, but I see few real limitations to continuing in my current role.
- There are real advantages to hiring these employees. Studies have shown that older workers may lower time-keeping and absentee issues within a business; they also tend to have higher levels of commitment to their jobs and loyalty to their employers, which reduces staff churn and helps to reduce recruitment costs.
- There is a strong business case for companies to diversify the age groups they employ.
- One answer is to become more accommodating in work arrangements. Offering part-time jobs, job shares, flextime and full-time jobs with longer holidays may attract older workers. This would enable everyone – and not just older employees! – to strike a better work-life balance and allow companies to retain their skills and experience.
Branson is an inspiring example of the ‘new old’. To have a champion of the ageing society not only adventurous but more importantly to connect the issue of ageing with business, is a huge boost for this cause.
Recognizing that every aspect of society and business will be affected by this unprecedented phenomenon is just the first step.
HR will need new thinking for older workers both in terms of adapting the roles of older workers as Branson mentions, as well as issues related to workplace safety.
On the marketing side, companies will be compelled to change their R&D and product design, distribution, communication.
When Al Gore delivered the ‘Inconvenient Truth’ he created the tipping point that got governments, businesses and customers aligned behind green initiatives. Could Richard Branson become the equivalent champion for our ageing societies?
Wouldn’t that be great? Hey Richard!!! How about it?