Blackwoods has identified an increasing corporate risk associated with a maturing workforce. During the year it introduced a program to address the cost of illness and injury within this cohort and the loss of business knowledge and customer serviceability as older people left the organisation. Extensive business analytics were undertaken to identify the quantum of risk and associated cost implications on the business.
Participants aged 45 years and older were invited to engage in workshops which focused on academic research and empirical evidence relating to the challenges of aging and the health benefits of good work.
The aim of each workshop was to give the participants time to specifically consider their own circumstances. Participants were invited to consider their longer term working options and were given a refresh of organisational policies and procedures in relation to flexible working options. Workshops were organised into key areas for discussion:
- Communities – consideration of opportunities and challenges associated with increasing life expectancy and the manner in which automation and technology is making it possible for people to remain in meaningful and healthy employment for longer. This section covered the importance of advanced planning including preferred retirement age, type of desired retirement lifestyle, health implications of chronic illness and financial considerations to support plans.
- Health – impacts the natural ageing process may have on daily work and other activities, exercise and lifestyle changes to mitigate or prevent chronic health conditions, and good mental health and good brain health as part of ageing.
- Work and Learning – the importance of work and consideration of simplistic job redesign to make roles easier to manage with age, and training programs and grants available to assist with transition from work to retirement.
- Financial Planning – using superannuation to support plans for transition to retirement, financial models to support modest verses comfortable retirement, accessing the aged pension and key tax treatments in the lead up to retirement.
- Planning Exercises – preliminary planning to encourage participants to assess areas of their lives they wish to work on, encouragement to include family members and loved ones in planning phases, and invitations to register for individual financial planning sessions with the superannuation fund, and encouragement to discuss flexible work options with their manager.
At the conclusion of the workshops 79 per cent of attendees agreed or strongly agreed they were better prepared to put plans in place for their future working lives and retirement.
Workshops in large distribution centres were completed during the year with regional areas to follow next year.