Unappreciated and ignored: Why UK firms could lose out on “elder power.”
Over 50s are now more than 30 % of the working population in Britain, But according to research findings, older workers are among the most unhappy of all workers.
Recent research has revealed an era of a “forgotten generation” of workers who are over 55 are feeling marginalized in today’s intergenerational workplace.
The study is conducted by the workplace consultant Peldon Rose that reveals an enormous gap between older and younger employees in terms of health, motivations, and attitudes.
The population over the 50s is now over 30 percent of the working population in Britain; however, as per the Peldon Rose study, seniors are the least satisfied out of employees. Just a quarter of them are content with their employer, and eight out of ten workers over 55 are afflicted with high workplace stress levels.
However, the most recent recruits in the workplace younger than 25 are the most content working, with more than half of them saying that they are appreciated by their employers and are the least likely of those of a certain age to experience stress at work.
“With millions of employees working through their 70s and 60s, employers are faced with the daunting task of accommodating a variety of generations of employees in one place. While businesses strive to accommodate the requirements and preferences of younger and older employees in the workplace of today, Our research findings have shown that it’s typically the older workers who are not being valued and viewed as a priority by their employers, which results in lower motivation and wellbeing,” according to Jitesh Patel, Peldon Rose CEO.
The emphasis is on youth culture.
Peldon Rose says companies are creating a “forgotten generation of employees who, despite their years of experience and expertise, don’t believe their voices are being heard in the workplace. The data show an alarming trend of placing more emphasis and importance on the younger workforce at risk of ignoring opinions from older employees. Just 17 percent of those over 55 believe their employer values their opinions regarding the workplace, in contrast to more than a third of younger workers.
One size doesn’t fit all.
Older and younger employees have very different goals and values in terms of rewards and benefits. Companies need to establish a consistent reward system for employees of all generations. Over three-quarters (73%) of younger workers believe that social activities and wellness packages like gym memberships are crucial to helping them feel better at work; employees of the 55+ age group see these benefits as only some of the essential benefits of working.
Although more than half of the younger workers put a lot of faith in these benefits, about a quarter of those over 55 shares this sentiment.
Patel believes that businesses must comprehend the requirements of their workforce rather than looking at office gimmicks or wellness policies they believe are appealing to young employees at the expense of their more experienced employees. “Failure to do so could result in higher attrition of the older staff who have been the backbone of their business and have valuable knowledge and experience which could be imparted to the younger generations,” Patel explained.
According to Patel, the five workplace enhancements businesses should consider are improving their employees’ well-being, happiness, and efficiency at every stage of their careers.
Natural light: The most effective method to improve mental health across all generations is to make sure that you are exposed to natural light at the workplace. 77% of those above 55s and 83 per percent of those under 25s say having exposure to sunlight is crucial for their well-being and mental health in the workplace. Yet, only 56 percent of those over 55s and 63 percent of those under 25 have access to natural light sources in their work environment.
Inclusivity: Many companies need help to engage effectively in meaningful dialogue with employees. Even though they spend most of their time at work and working from home, most employees don’t feel they have a voice in the company regarding the working environment. Just 17 percent of those over 55 and 37 percent of those under 25s believe their opinions are respected – and both groups report that they are not involved in discussions about possible changes to the workplace. To increase trust among their employees, employers must establish a robust change management program and ensure that they are taking the time to learn the needs of their employees and what they require from their workplace and then engage them in discussions about any changes they might be considering.
Quiet zones The two generations are both exceedingly fond of peace at work. Eighty percent of those above 55s and 80% of those under 25 say they appreciate quiet areas in their workplace, but only a few enjoy these (34 percent of 55+-year-olds and 39 percent of those under 25s). To find a quick and efficient solution, employers should expand the number of designated areas of quiet and zones where staff can go and include seating for escape cocoons around the work area.
Private space: Nine out of 10 (89 percent) from 55 to old and 80% of under-25s prefer personal workspaces. However, only 69 percent of those 55 and over and 61 percent of those under-25s have a workspace at work. To fix this issue, businesses must think beyond the current hot desk trend, ask their employees what they require to be productive, and implement the necessary changes to offer an array of workplaces where workers can pick their ideal space based on their needs and personality.
Technology tools Tools and technology: 83 percent of those over 55 and under 25s appreciate technology and tools in the workplace, but surprisingly, only a little over half of those over 55s (54 percent) and under 25s (52 percent) claim to have these tools. Employers should talk to their employees about the tools and equipment required to perform better in the workplace. If they do not provide the proper tools and technologies, they will stop employees from being mobile within the workplace, and they won’t be able to use the wide range of available workspaces.