Retaining your experienced workforce: strategies to keep employees over 50 engaged

Smile, park and portrait of group of women enjoying bonding, quality time and relax in nature together. Diversity, friendship and faces of happy senior females with calm, wellness and peace outdoors.

Supporting your workforce includes managing the happiness and satisfaction of all ages, including those who have been with the company longer. With the current “silver exodus,” there’s a growing concern that older employees aren’t finding the same enjoyment in work as they used to.

As the workforce ages, and with the retirement age now rising to 71 years old, it’s essential to know how to successfully retain older staff members.

Gary Clark, Academy Director at ski course business SIA Austria, says: “Working is now becoming about a better work-life balance and businesses that aren’t recognising this run the risk of losing experienced staff members who might do better breaking out on their own. That is why finding ways to offer them some excitement and a break from the mundane corporate working is necessary, not just for younger staff, but for your ageing workforce too.”


It might sound counterintuitive, but spending time away from the desk can increase motivation and productivity.

Older workers have earned time off, so offering sabbaticals can be a great way to encourage them to enjoy themselves away from work. Whether they’re undergoing a ski course in Japan or jet-setting to a more relaxing destination, giving them the opportunity and time to spend time away from work is essential.

Gary says: “Enjoying something new that you wouldn’t have considered before can actually get you away from your desk and the worries of work so that you’re in a better place to come back to it. You don’t want your staff quitting so that they can travel, meaning you lose all their expertise; instead, offer them the time they desire as part of a long-term worker package so that they can get the best of both worlds.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive at Age UK, is a key advocate for the support that can be put in place for older workers. In this article, he mentions his dad who was still traveling solo in his 80s, and suggests that apprenticeships and internships should be available to older workers as well as younger people. This demonstrates that there is no age limit when it comes to wanting to learn, travel, and develop new skills. Offering such opportunities not only allows organisations to retain their staff but also helps to combat loneliness.

Freelance work

Gary continues: “Or if you’re looking for a more flexible arrangement, then freelance might be the best option for both employees and employers. You don’t want to risk losing their valuable insight and knowledge in your business, so giving them the ability to work freelance or remotely could be an option if they’re looking to move both professionally and personally.”

Fatigue at work can stem from a lack of freedom. Whether it’s spending time away from the desk, living somewhere new, or seeing new faces daily, the corporate 9 to 5 can become too much after decades in the same role. Allowing your staff the freedom to explore their personal choices and take the work with them can help retain experienced employees without limiting them.


Autonomy is important for older workers, as well as younger ones. You don’t want to offer all your career development opportunities to your younger staff members while ignoring the wants and needs of your older professionals. Allowing your ageing workforce to create and implement their development plans is essential for a healthy working culture.

Interestingly, this article published on discussed the need to not overlook training for the over-55 workforce. Over half of older employees admitted that training is an important factor when deciding whether to stay with an organisation. With one in three employees over the age of 50, organisations can’t afford to disregard the needs and wants of their older workforce.

Gary says: “Autonomy and development don’t need to always fall in line with traditional workplace training sessions. In fact, your workforce might benefit more from stepping out of their comfort zone now and again and developing transferable skills. By giving your employees of all ages the autonomy to learn and develop in their ways, you can retain a happier workforce.”

The increasing number of older workforce members quitting can be concerning for businesses that risk losing the accumulated experience, knowledge, and know-how of these employees. However, there are plenty of ways your business can avoid losing these valuable team members. Increasing autonomy, providing opportunities for development, and offering more flexible structures can ensure your workforce is in the position they want to be, no matter their age.

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