Wellbeing for an Ageing Workforce: How to Identify Needs and Measure Effectiveness

With the UK’s workforce ageing, organisations should be looking closely at the effectiveness of their own wellbeing programmes - and with good reason!

People over 50 years old currently make up around a third of the total UK workforce, and this number is expected to rise in the next decade.

In fact, CIPD’s recent Management Survey found 52% of businesses that participated believed an ageing workforce will have a demonstrable effect on their management policies and processes in the next five years.


Additional research by the Centre for Better Ageing has highlighted the fact that on average, only 1-in-5 employers are discussing their strategies for managing an older workforce. And, of the businesses they spoke to, 24% of them admitted they were under-prepared for the challenges of an ageing workforce.

These are worrying statistics and highlights the fact that the wellbeing and engagement of an ageing workforce is more of an afterthought, rather than priority.

The subject of an ageing workforce isn’t going to go away, so if you’ve not given it much thought, now is the time to start putting measures in place with an employee wellbeing strategy.

Identifying the Needs of Your Current Workforce…

Start by analysing the demographics of your workforce. This will give you a good indication if there are any hotspots of ageing staff that could pose a challenge to the business in coming years – especially when it comes to replacing valuable skills and experience.

… And Your Future Employees

It’s not just your current crop of staff you’ll need to consider.

An ageing workforce will also affect the age of your job applicants, and they’ll be savvy as to how you support your own employees as they reach the autumn of their careers. Is this something you’ve considered when it comes to attracting and retaining talented staff?

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Offer Preventative Measures

Older workers may feel that age-related health problems will prevent them from working for longer, so it makes sense to give your staff access to health screenings.

Screenings are a great way to identify and help prevent specific issues that could affect older members of staff. Plus, they can also help your staff to live a more active and healthier lifestyle.

Tailored Benefits Packages

A tailored employee wellbeing programme can work seamlessly with preventative screenings to improve the overall wellbeing of your employees.

You can essentially cherry-pick the initiatives that suit your workforce best based on the results and staff feedback. These could include provisions for flexible working, cycle-to-work schemes, discounted gym memberships or even just simple things – like replacing crisps and chocolate in the vending machine for free healthier snacks.

There are a number of reasons why employee benefits are great for any business; but these benefits can work especially well to raise awareness around the issues of good health, providing employees with a strong incentive to lead a healthier lifestyle into their old age.

Now Comes the Measuring Part

The proof as to whether your strategy works is in the effect it has on your employees; elements include:

  • Absenteeism – are there less staff taking time off ill? And are they more comfortable in taking time off when they are unwell?
  • Productivity – are you noticing an increase in your organisation’s productivity? Has staff morale improved?
  • Staff turnover – are your employees sticking with you longer instead of moving on? And are you finding it easier to recruit talented employees?
  • Benefit take-up – how are staff engaging with the benefits you offer? Are you noticing any patterns?
  • Staff engagement – are you regularly keeping in touch with employees as to their feedback? Do you have a positive reputation online and on social?

Organisations have the power to put measures in place to face the challenges of an ageing workforce.

The 52% of businesses we mentioned earlier are most likely already prepared for life with an older workforce. But, if your business falls into the remaining 48%, it’s something you really can’t afford to ignore.

financial wellbeing  of your older employees  is just the start of a healthy company culture...

Offering benefits that improve the quality of life for your employees - whatever their age - is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a positive company culture. The health and wellbeing of employees is now a huge factor in the success of organisations - Get the full lowdown in our free online guide - just hit the link below to check it out!

Download our free online guide: The essential guide to employee health and wellbeing