Meeting the challenges of our ageing society
16th July 2019
Modern healthcare is amazing - we are living longer and, for many, we don't feel the aging effect in the same way as our grandparents. When I was small, 60 was ancient. Now, it is middle aged and most of us are full of energy at what was once old-age.
Not just a problem for the future of social care
In the media, it is most common to consider the social 'problems' of ageing but, are you considering the impact on your business of this increasingly mature market?
- Your loyal '30-something' customers need to become your loyal '40/50/60 somethings' as well. As their life priorities change, will your products and services change too?
- Young people are more savvy about the need to prepare for later years than we were - good quality pensions and healthcare will influence their decision in who they want to work for.
- As technology races ahead, are you providing the training to those who need it for those who learned in a less technology-immersed day? You can teach an old dog new tricks and it is human nature to want to learn and to have challenges to keep our minds stimulated.
- Does your workforce reflect the demographics of your customer base? I’m sure many of us have been served by someone who is of a different generation and felt that they didn’t really ‘get’ us or understand what was really important to us.
And can you see the potential?
If employers can let go of the idea of applicants in their late-50s being ‘over the hill’ there is a wealth of experience to tap into. Older employees have masses of experience - in your business and in others. Consider how to balance the mix between the young and innovative and the more experienced (and possibly more risk aware) to give you the best growth.
The key is to have a strategy to deal with each of the different age groups.
- The millennials grew up with technology, don’t understand how others don’t ‘get it’ and expect to move employers every five years. They want to see that they are making a difference and to build skills.
- Generation Xers (that includes me!) saw the huge shifts in the workplace from when they first got jobs to how things are today during the technological revolution. They are likely to be more wary of change (they’ seen too much of it) but will relish being listened to. They’ve probably seen it before and already know what does and doesn’t work.
- Baby boomers are much maligned and thought of as ‘just waiting to retire’ but they have to potential to be the stability your business needs. Don’t write them off because they’ve been around since the days of a typing pool and a daily tea trolley. As technology becomes more intuitive and is mimicking older methods (e.g. you can now write on a tablet with a pen, or use text to speech) it becomes more accessible.
What can you be doing now?
None of us can predict the future but, if your team is going to live longer there are ways you can help them plan.
- For you and your fellow directors, consider the financial responsibility you need to be taking across the whole of your life – considering income protection, pension planning and your exit from your business when you are ready to retire.
- Give all your team the opportunity to understand their ‘personal balance sheet’ – to see what their overall position is now and into the future.
- Are your systems and business plans geared towards the mix of generations in the right way – from how you recruit to the way you train to how to make that information available?
And, if you need help to make the most of an aging society, Grant-Jones Accountancy has a range of services and knowledge to offer as part of its Business Growth Services. For a free initial review and to learn more, contact us now.