Stemming the “silver tsunami”: How to keep hold of quality baby boomers

Despite being one of the largest and most experienced demographics in the workplace, Baby Boomers (aged 51-74) can be a flight risk – frustrated that their needs are being overlooked and looking for a new role or entering retirement instead. The Health Insurance Group explains that with a few simple changes, this highly valued and skilled demographic can be tempted to stay for longer:

Don’t assume limited tech knowledge

Whilst schooling was more likely to be chalk talk, rather than education through tablets, Baby Boomers are still avid consumers of technology, and to assume otherwise can serve to aggravate them. The only difference, according to accounting firm EY*, is how newly implemented technology is taught in its practical application – highlighting that Millennials tend to prefer interactive classroom settings and older employees one-to-one coaching sessions.

When implementing a new employee benefits programme, for example, Baby Boomers are likely to be just as keen as the next generation to see what’s in it for them. Offering all employees a mixture of new technology training, from digestible videos to classroom sessions, enables them to choose what suits their level of interest and ability. This also avoids the risk of applying inaccurate generalisations to Baby Boomers – by giving them the autonomy to select the learning method that best meets their needs.

Be mindful of health considerations

Lifestyle choices associated with Baby Boomers – smoking, drinking and eating in excess, for example – may be starting to take its toll on their health. Providing support in tackling unhealthy habits, which may have been decades in the making, can be difficult to unpick but not impossible. Nutrition talks, smoking-cessation programmes and company exercise classes can all help kick bad habits.

Health screenings can spot ‘invisible’ conditions that Baby Boomers are also prone to – such as certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. This can be offered by businesses as a standalone employee benefit, and are particularly valuable as they can detect health concerns, enabling early diagnosis and appropriate treatment to be organised. Health is understandably of great importance to Baby Boomers, so businesses that can demonstrate that this comes first can benefit from better retention and engagement rates.

Understand what motivates them

An easy assumption to make is that Baby Boomers are interested in financial planning, to support their retirement. Whilst this may be true for some, others may also be first-time parents in their fifties. It’s worthwhile remembering the age demographic for Baby Boomers spans over 20 years and that economical and social changes – such as default retirement age being scrapped and people having families later in life (if at all) – means that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for Baby Boomers. Instead, businesses need to take the time to understand the drivers and motivators of the people in the workplace – so that any initiatives implemented serve to engage rather than alienate.

Brett Hill, managing director at The Health Insurance Group, comments:

“Baby Boomers possess an irreplaceable set of experience and skills, that can’t be matched with other generations currently in the workplace. As a result, businesses need to work hard to ensure that they keep their best Baby Boomers.

“Making assumptions about them, based on age and perceived abilities and interests, can frustrate them – at a time where businesses need them the most. Taking time to understand what drives and motivates Baby Boomers, enables initiatives such as employee benefits, to be aligned to their needs – aiding retention of this valuable group in the long term.”