Companies facing an ageing workforce are not isolated cases. In fact, employees over the age of fifty now make up 31% of the UK workforce. Additionally, HelpAge says that one in five people in the workplace will be over the age of 60 by 2050.
Older employees in your team have a lot of value to give. They can look at tasks from a different perspective to your younger team members. They are also excellent mentors to the new generation.
All you need to do is find a way to support your ageing workforce as they get older. Technology could be the answer to that concern.
1. Automation and AI
Automation and AI are two of the most significant technologies influencing how the older generation works. According to McKinsey, AI has the potential to raise global productivity by around 1.4% annually.
Modern software solutions are becoming more sophisticated and versatile not only in terms of functionality but usability and simplicity as well. Mostly, they don’t differ drastically from another, which makes it easier to adjust to different interfaces and functions.
This can be of great help for an ageing workforce struggling to keep up with changes in workplace technology. Additionally, automating repetitive tasks reduces the chance of errors and speeds up operations.
When building a diverse workforce with people from various generations, you can use automation to your advantage. Getting intelligent machines to complete repetitive tasks for older employees means that they can spend more time on creative, meaningful tasks.
Machine learning systems can also recognize workplace problems before they emerge and give teams guidance on avoiding future issues. For instance, an AI tool assessing a call could detect when a customer’s sentiment is negative and provide advice to an agent on how to turn the conversation around.
2. IoT and mentoring opportunities
IoT or the internet of things is significantly impacting virtually every industry these days. In the manufacturing and utility industries, for instance, IoT devices can stream two-way conversations between workers.
This could mean that a younger worker could access information directly from an older worker with more experience. In a mentoring situation, IoT can help mentors to deliver guidance even when they’re not physically present to train younger employees.
Thanks to IoT access, if something goes wrong for the trainee, the older employee would be able to step in and take control of the situation. Many IoT tools also allow people to control apps and technology from a distance.
IoT devices have another application that could serve the ageing workforce well. For example, connected wearable devices greatly contribute to workplace safety. These devices can alert managers of strain, exhaustion, or other medical issues like accelerated heart rate or spiking blood sugar levels.
3. Using analytics to grow
A smart approach to analytics is another aspect of technology that’s transforming the workforce for people of all ages.
With analytics to track the work styles and trends of different employees, managers can find out which strategies deliver the best business results.
Tracking the results of different processes and methodologies makes it easier for team leaders to decide which team members need more training. It might even be possible to match up older and younger employees based on their different skills.
Analytics and data offer another benefit to the ageing workforce by achieving greater equality.
Data-based insights ensure that each employee receives recognition for their work and contribution. This reduces the possibilities of discrimination and biased assessments based on gender or age.
4. Enabling remote work
One of the biggest bonuses of technology for the ageing workforce is that it allows employees to stay productive wherever they are. If older people have a harder time getting to the office, or struggle concentrating in a new style of office space, they have the freedom to work from home.
The advent of cloud-based technologies has given rise to different employment arrangements, from freelancing to full-time remote employment. Cloud tools allow team members access to the same tools that they use in the office, anywhere in the world.
Consequently, it has enabled an ageing workforce to stay active and employed when commuting to an office is not an option anymore.
5. New training opportunities
Technology can deliver new training and growth opportunities to employees of all ages. In today’s digital world, team leaders can offer learning opportunities through webinars and video conferences with leading experts.
Companies can build digital courses to teach employees new skills and have them earn certifications using their laptops or smartphones. This could be an excellent way to help team members improve, while also allowing them to work at their own pace.
Using the analytics mentioned above, team leaders can even get a better insight into where different people need extra support building and honing their skills.
Lastly, online learning means that even the ageing workforce has opportunities for career mobility, advancement, and growth.
Using technology to support an ageing workforce
A diverse workforce is a valuable thing for any business. Employing people from different backgrounds, generations, and cultures means that you can unlock more out-of-the-box thinking and creativity.
However, as a business leader, you need to empower every member of your team to deliver their best work.
Good company culture is a good start, as it creates an environment where everyone can support each other and share ideas. But don’t neglect the value of technology for transforming your workforce too.
The right tools can turn around the challenges of an ageing workforce and create advantages and opportunities for your business. What’s more, technology also has the power to boost productivity, increase engagement, and reduce turnover for today’s evolving teams.
About the author:
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.