Longevity – managing your employees and customers 50Plus

Does your company have a longevity strategy? What does this mean in a South African context?

The world of work is changing due to technology and at the same time people are living longer. In South Africa we are more than 20 years into readdressing economic equality in the workplace and we are struggling with large numbers of unemployment, mainly from the younger generation. This is the context and reality of our current business landscape.

How do we manage all these challenges and grow economically at the same time as building social cohesion? A company was started in 2018 that is trying to address some of these challenges. The company is called 50plus-skills.

Here are some ways in which your company may want to address some of these challenges:

1. Do an audit of your employees within 10 years of retirement.
2. Become data-centric in trying to understand your workforce.
3. Have your CEO and executive team highlight the importance of age diversity
4. Create age related groups with in your organisation to address the challenges of each group.
5. Encourage mentoring between young and old through mentoring and reverse mentoring.
6. Help employees understand and work towards a healthy financial retirement.
7. Build awareness for older employees 50+ about their next season so that they can plan.
8. Create a longevity strategy for both your employees and your customers.
9. Work with 50plus-skills to help you manage this process.

There is wonderful book that has been written by Chip Conley called Wisdom@Work. This book is his personal experience of working with the young tech founders of Airbnb and the way in which he needed to evolve, learn, collaborate and counsel to ensure that growth was achieved. He states the following “Unconscious bias, left unchecked in any form, can multiply and spread like a cancer.”

We notice much of this unconscious bias in the work we are doing and want to encourage leaders to engage and start to make the changes needed for the future. Our human capital in this country is much too important to waste. We have many challenges to address and together we are much stronger.

I leave you with this beautiful quote from the book:

“A young tree grows stronger when it’s planted in an area with older
trees as the roots of the young tree can follow the pathways
created by those of older trees. Over time, the roots of many trees
graft themselves to one another, creating an intricate, interdependent foundation hidden below the surface and the forest becomes healthier and more resilient”

We need to become intentional about the pathways we carve for those we leave behind.