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Key themes to emerge from our latest Member Connect meeting are that it’s time to bring the issue of transitioning aging workers out of the “too-hard basket” and that by collaborating organisations can find ways to bring this demographic to the forefront of employee programmes and look after their frontline workers.

The meeting, hosted by Coca-Cola Amatil as part of their Alliance Partner national inclusion project, was an opportunity for members, particularly those in the construction, manufacturing and production sectors, to share some of the common challenges for New Zealand organisations experiencing an increase in the number of workers aged 55-plus.

These included:

  • Helping workers transition to the next stage in their careers while retaining their institutional knowledge and using it to encourage young talent
  • Supporting life stage challenges around moving to retirement including health, learning agility and caring responsibilities
  • Supporting reskilling in the face of changing technology and increased automation
  • Understanding the pressures to keep working including financial constraints and family dependence
  • Creating options for older workers within the confines of collective agreements for unionised workforces
  • Ensuring that age is not a barrier to progression, supporting and valuing people with long service and helping them to stay in the organisation.

Breaking up into smaller groups to brainstorm solutions created a list of ideas for action including:

  • Creating communities within organisations for our older workers and considering alumni programmes that acknowledge the value of people’s history with our businesses
  • Helping people to understand their purpose outside of work and transition to other interests
  • Work sharing and more flexibility, particularly around shift patterns
  • Employee benefits aimed at this demographic and information sessions for these workers covering subjects such as managing change, wellbeing, diet and nutrition
  • Celebrating role models and success stories
  • Introducing mentoring programmes to allow wisdom workers to share their knowledge and coaching sessions to keep them up to date
  • Equipping people leaders and wisdom workers with the skills to have courageous conversations and be open and honest about what they need
  • Considering language – kill “still” when discussing the work status of older employees

The meeting kicked off with a tour of the Keri Juice factory which was a great example of automation and the future of work.

If you would like to talk more about this challenge in your organisation, please contact Guillermo Merelo.


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