This state sees age as an asset and wants older residents to work



I am moving to Colorado.

Not really. But my God, the state is leading the way for leadership to connect employers with experienced workers over 50.

And that’s a good thing when you realize that there is a demographic shift going on and the world’s population is aging. Employers need to grab it and embrace it with strategies to keep experienced workers on board and on the ramps to hire them.

I’m not going to delve into all the reasons why many of us will need to keep winning for as long as possible. And that’s true not only for Baby Boomers and Generation X, but also for the cohorts that follow us. Longer, healthier lives require a lot more capital, as decades go by and living to 100 is not that big of a deal.

Read: Baby boomers face financial hardship and age discrimination

It’s a fact.

The problem here, however, is the business case of hiring and retaining older workers for employers.

Myths persist about the high cost of older workers, their energy, their technological ability and their enthusiasm to learn new ways of doing things.

What if employers saw age as an asset? That’s the goal of the Colorado swelling movement that started before the pandemic and is gaining momentum as we come out of it. The advantage is that everyone wins, from businesses to workers, to the economy.

My colleague Chris Farrell recently wrote about Colorado’s forward-thinking efforts for Next Avenue and what we need to learn from its initiatives to hire and keep older workers. I encourage you to read his ideas.

As he explains, “The state of the Rockies has the second fastest growing rate in the country for people 65 and older, a combination of people aging in place and retirees moving there. One in four Coloradians aged 65 and over was in the workforce before the pandemic. “

Colorado laid the groundwork to persuade employers of the value of older workers. The impulse was that before the pandemic, Colorado employers struggled to find what they considered skilled workers. As a result, Gov. Jared Polis’ office, aided by state nonprofits and private foundations, has taken steps to persuade employers to look to experienced workers as a solution.

This effort was somewhat revolutionary at a time when we were open to hiring workers over 50 and “no, no ageism in our company”, wink, wink denial which is so often ingrained in corporate culture.

Ageism is terribly difficult to prove. But when you look at who is hired and who is offered early retirement packages, it’s pretty clear that this is the ism that persists in work cultures… deeply.

In full disclosure: I was recently the keynote speaker at a webinar, Age-Inclusive Management Strategies in Colorado, hosted by the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the non-profit Transamerica Institute. Funding provided by NextFifty Initiative. My subject: Finding work after 50 and rethinking retirement. You can watch the video here.

The event explored the business case for hiring experienced employees (50+) and unveiled the team’s new tool designed to help employers implement management strategies that take into account age (AIMS) and to recruit and retain experienced employees.

It was based on a multi-year collaboration between the nonprofit Transamerica Institute and the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. The webinar was the next step stemming from the research results of the Colorado Employment Strategies Over Fifty (CAFES).

Joe Barela, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, explained to the audience a statewide strategy for connecting employers with experienced workers and programs the state offers for provide access to learning, training and skills development.

“There is a lot of work to be done to make sure that we don’t waste talent and that every Coloradan worker can retrain themselves, improve their skills and their next skills to find a good career in our state as we recover. COVID-19 and we are preparing for future work, ”said Barela.

“It is no longer appropriate or acceptable or even relevant that we do not achieve lifelong learning possesses to be something that learning workers, employers and government embrace, ”he said. “We need to make sure our workforce has access to vocational training that makes it relevant to the work of today and tomorrow. “

Applause all around. Read my MarketWatch article on Adult Support here.

“We also know that as employers struggle to find talent, we need to look at different ways to prepare and recruit talent into the necessary roles we have, from hospitality to engineering, to construction. to health care. on skills-based hiring practices that will be a wave of the future, ”he said.

Barela ended by saying that Colorado employers who do not actively recruit and retain older workers who “will be at a great disadvantage and lose to competitors who have thought through and put effort into recruitment and retention strategies for older workers. “.

“It’s not just about recruiting and retaining older workers. It’s about creating a better society, a society in which older people are not only seen, but fully appreciated for their talents and contributions, ”said Barela.

Lee Wheeler-Berliner, CEO of the Colorado Workforce Development Council, spoke about ways to scale to fully support the older adult workforce and discussed the success of the Council’s collaborations with partners like Change the Narrative and Skillful.

I was delighted to hear Wheeler-Berliner share information about career coaching for older workers, career counseling and peer support groups offered by state labor centers. .

Recently, Age-inclusive management strategies in Colorado (AIMS Colorado) is a revolutionary tool designed to help employers looking to hire experienced workers. Brian Kaskie, Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, took a tour of the AIMS Colorado website, which provides in-depth information on the 10 best strategies for becoming a senior-friendly employer, along with tips and advice. tools to implement best practices.

Now for my main reasons for hiring and retaining workers 50+.

They are more stable and less likely to skip jobs than someone who continues to gain traction and rise through the ranks in the workplace. Plus, it costs more to hire than to keep and commit to developing current employees.

An experienced worker can usually move to a new job quickly without much supervision. They have changed and twisted many times over the course of their career paths and have a strong sense of decision making in their back pocket.

And they usually have all of the qualities that shine with age, from the ability to manage others to written and oral communication skills.

Plus, workers who have some of life’s challenges in the rearview mirror, like raising children, are dedicating their energy and mission to their jobs in ways that were not possible before.

The truth is, for many workers over the age of 50, it’s easier than ever to be a team player at this point in the journey. The great days of the ego are behind them. They are energized by working with a diverse team of young colleagues.

Age diversity increases organizational performance. Studies have shown that the productivity of older and younger workers is higher in companies with mixed work teams.

Finally, older workers play an important role in providing skills and workplace knowledge to younger colleagues. It’s a two-way street. Each generation rubs off on the next. Everyone is prospering.


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