A Case Study by Human Resource students at Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development on post retirement employability, Presented by: Team Thrivers, National Winners, tHRive
When we were asked to propose recommendations for an Internship program involving Senior Citizens by Peacock Solar, we were taken aback by surprise.
The questions had only begun.
As we started brainstorming over the possibilities of such a unique program, the first thing that we all decided to do was to take some time off during the night, and watch the movie, “The Intern”. We wanted to make sure we had a feel of what we were doing before plunging into “strategy” of creating an amazing workplace. The idea was to read in-between the lines and understand the needs and expectations of the protagonist from the organization and to make a note of all the things we felt were being touched and transformed by the Senior Intern as part of his Internship program.
The movie helped us understand and empathize with the worldview of the Senior Citizens and appreciate the fact that they not only bring in a wealth of experience and wisdom, but also tend to be a stabilizing and a grounding force on people working around them.
Diversity and Inclusion are two of the most hyped words in the HR world. But we have also been a witness to the “OK Boomer” movement. It is a given that the world view of retired citizens is bound to be very different from our own, but to simply negate an individual’s viewpoints with an “OK Boomer” talks volumes about millennials and their willingness to empathize.
Hence, while the Internship program could be designed in accordance with the custom-made Job Description and Job Specifications, the most important part of the Returnship would be the current employees of the workplace themselves. Inclusion cannot just be jargon used by the Management. An amazing workplace that is truly open and sensitive to the others’ worldview is mandatory, failing which the Returnship would not yield any significant results. This formed the foundation of our recommendations over which the other moving parts were put up.
Compensation and the Benefits part was a trickier part. We were recruiting Interns who would be advising Managerial level jobs and this demanded a competitive pay. But, after interacting with quite a few senior citizens, we began to understand that even more than compensation, there were few other important factors that they were considering such as flexibility, empowerment and purpose. At the very end of their careers, the Senior Citizens wanted to make sure that their work leaves a significant impact on society and also wanted to have a fair bit of empowerment, when it came to proposing changes to the existing processes. We proposed the Compensation and Benefits part of the Returnship program after considering the opinions of various senior citizens and after benchmarking the practices of other firms that have carried out similar programmes.
Now came the communication part. Once the C&B strategy was in place, the next crucial element of the Returnship framework was to create a comprehensive EVP that would effectively communicate it. We fundamentally believed that EVP should resonate with the objective of the company and that an Impactful and well-designed EVP would mean half the battle won when it comes to attracting prospective candidates to an amazing workplace. Here, our interactions with the various Senior Citizens helped us design our EVP based on 3 E’s; Ensure, Engage and Empower. First, we ensured that all the Hygiene factors such as Flexibility at Work, Commutation allowance etc. were in place. Secondly, our Job Design meant they would be very much engaged in the decision making process. With the authority to question existing processes in place, we empowered them to question and suggest changes in the best possible way.
In order to create a sense of bonding amongst the “Transformation Specialists” as we called them, we proposed their onboarding have a dedicated period where all of them would come together and bond over various team building activities. The activities had to be designed keep in mind that they were senior citizens. This would drive a sense of unity amongst all the Returnees who would invariably have to work with each other during their stint with the company. It was also proposed that paperwork and other hassles be digitized and helpdesks be in place to ensure a smooth start to the onboarding process.
We believe that such a programme hugely empowers the Manager with whom the Returnees would be interning, as they would not only act as mirrors that show the Manager what he has done, they would also help him with insights as to what other methods could be employed in the scenario. This would add quality and depth to decision making, thus paving way for creating an effective organization. New England Journal of Medicine in 2018 found out that the most productive age of a person’s life to be 60-70 and the second-best productive phase to be 70-80. We may as well be at the cusp of a Returnship revolution, where companies start actively engaging Senior Citizens to leverage their wisdom and expertise to create truly Amazing Workplaces!
Ben Whittaker, the protagonist from “The Intern” says,
“Musicians don’t retire. They stop when they run out of music”.
Here’s to all the Musicians who never run out of Music!
TESTIMONIAL BY PEACOCK SOLARWe at Peacock Solar have greatly admired the idea of hiring senior citizens as interns to guide teams of committed employees to build better business processes and culture. Being in the nascent stage of growth, the solar industry can benefit from the strong leadership and communication skills of experienced individuals. They will be beneficial in building strong customer relations and converting leads as they understand customer’s psyche better than young professionals.
Being driven by societal needs, senior citizens would voluntarily come forward to help in business building. This will enhance their loyalty towards the company and will help budding companies in the solar industry to mitigate the risk for employee turnover. Owing to their long working span, they have increased adaptability towards uncertainties that will provide an anchor to solar companies in a rapidly changing business environment.
In Financial terms also getting senior employees is a better trade-off as compared to young and inexperienced professionals. Students from apex institutes usually eye astronomical salaries and also leave in short span in search of ‘greener pasture’ to ascend through their career path. Senior citizens, on the other hand, have most of their needs as stated by Maslow’s hierarchy satisfied, thus they can bring better insight and understanding of building a business. This will prove conducive for growth of Solar industry in India.
Young generation powered by cutting edge technology and Senior Citizens with tonnes of experience can be a winning mantra for any organization. The broad vision and experience of elderly can be materialized efficiently with the technology ready hands of young individuals. This will provide faster pace for growth.
A Case Study by Human Resource students at Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development on post retirement employability, Presented by: Team Thrivers, National…