This week I became a Nana – the gentler name for “granny” and although every one told me that life would change with the change in my status I didn’t quite understand the full impact until now. Life and work challenges that seemed unsurmountable a week ago are suddenly being viewed differently. I have a new perspective and I owe it all to my new grandson, Jack Anthony. Why it took the arrival of Jack to help me get my life back in balance and understand the importance of taking time to really enjoy what matters is a bit of a mystery. What I do know is that the arrival of little Jack has provided me with some reflection time and a perspective on what might be some important attraction and retention strategies for our baby boomers.
Today’s workplace is increasingly one of “gigs” – project work ideal for independent contractors or employees who want to work for shorter periods of time and then take some time off. Many baby boomers are interested in staying in the work place longer either for financial reasons and/or they genuinely like what they do and they want to stay involved. However, many also have a desire to do more community work, take extended vacations and spend time with their grandchildren. A “gig” appeals to many of these employees and right now as I hold little Jack Anthony in my arms I’m thinking a “gig” sounds like a great deal!
Could the promotion of “gigs” in our workplace provide employers with an opportunity to attract and retain an important sector of our workforce and help manage the ebbs and flows of business created by an uncertain economy recovering from the recession? Why offer full time employment for project work when you have a sector of the workforce who may embrace casual or term work? This line of thinking will require us to look at new ways of solving old issues related to term assignments. For example how do we transfer a long term employee to casual status or to an independent contractor without triggering large severance payments; benefit entitlement; and what about eligibility for employment insurance? I would like to suggest that as employers we don’t have to have all of the answers. Pose the questions to those that are interested in “gigs” and get them to come up with the answers. Have the courage as an employer to put the offer of taking a “gig” out to the workforce and then engage them in finding the solutions to make it work.
Transitioning the baby boomers who want alternative work arrangements opens up opportunities for our millennials to take on additional responsibilities. It’s an ideal time to look at succession planning and provide opportunities for baby boomers to provide mentoring between “gigs”. Engaging your workforce in candid conversation to determine who is actually interested in a mentorship role and transitioning into some “gigs” as they head to retirement is a wonderful strategy to attract and retain the nana’s and the papa’s in your organization.
For me – I want to enjoy being a Nana! I also enjoy my work and as such I will embrace the “gig”! I will also do my mentoring and succession planning so I can be assured that my job is covered while I take time off to go to the zoo with little Jack.
Contact Salopek & Associates if you would like help building a work culture and policies that attract and retain the Baby Boomers in your business!