Better practice case studies for employers and business

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Employers around Australia are putting in place strategies to build diverse workforces to help grow their business, whether it be through working closely with employment service providers or developing new workplace policies. This page contains case studies that share experiences and innovative practices of employers of different sizes, in a range of different industries employing mature-age people.

1. Mature Age case study

Westpac believes in offering programs and support for mature age workers.

Westpac Banking Corporation was founded in 1817 and has branches throughout Australia, New Zealand and the near Pacific region and maintains offices in key financial centres around the world. More than 20 per cent of Westpac’s workforce is mature age.

Westpac believes by offering programs and support, targeted at mature age workers they can continue to retain and attract the best talent in the market. The benefits that Westpac have available for 50+ employees include flexible work options (such as flexible hours, work from home and part time work), a variety of leave options including Grandparental leave, and discounted financial planning.

Westpac have a mature age Employee Action Group, made up of volunteers from across the organisation who are passionate about progressing the position of 50+ employees. The Employee Action Group creates an avenue for direct feedback to the Westpac Diversity and Flexibility team on 50+ issues and programs.
Westpac also created the ‘Prime of Life’ program which is a suite of training options and support resources for both mature age employees and their managers. This included giving 50+ employees access to workshop sessions which assists employees to plan for their future around key topics such as finance, health and career. Overall, the response to the Prime of Life program has been extremely positive, showing a more engaged mature workforce which is more likely to stay at Westpac for longer.
Westpac recognises that managers play an integral role in engaging and retaining mature age employees and see that it is important that they have support and training available to them. Westpac have designed specialist training to provide managers with skills to support mature employees, plan for the needs of their workforce and ensure the retention of important knowledge held by 50+ employees.

A suite of online resources were developed and included an ‘internet hub’ which provides a one-stop shop for mature age employees to find resources relevant to them.  These included:

  • A Self -assessment tool and
  • A Manager toolkit


2. Mature Age case study

Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa business case for retaining mature age employees

The Surfers Paradise Marriot resort and Spa (the Marriott) which is part of the EHP group of companies, employs more than 350 employees in its peak season. The organisation is aware of the need to manage and support its older worker’s especially considering that finding and retaining workers on the Gold Coast is an ongoing challenge.

Of the Marriott’s workforce approximately 18 per cent are mature age workers. While the Marriott’s management deemed this as a relatively low risk to the organisation, the risk is greater when considered in the context of critical roles which include Management, Chefs and Logistics. One hundred percent of the older workers hold these critical roles.

The Marriot introduced a re-skilling program for older workers. The program is particularly important for workers who are unable to continue in their current role due to changing work practices and demands or who are considering retirement.

One example of the success of the re-skilling program was the potential retirement of its’ experienced head Teppanyaki Chef and the risk of his retirement to the business.  It was important to the Marriot they did not lose the skills and experience held by the Chef.

A reskilling program was put in place to minimise the risk of losing the Teppanyaki skill in the business.  A mature age worker (previously a security guard) was given the opportunity to be trained as a future Teppanyaki Chef (as well as a number of young trainees).The mature age staff member completed his formal training and is working full time as a Teppanyaki Chef (under the guidance of the Head Chef). In addition to the training program for the trainees, the Head Chef has now been able to reduce his hours so that he can continue working in a more flexible employment arrangement (3 days per week).
The Marriot plans to continue to identify and implement strategies to build their workforce including the development and utilisation of mature age workers.


3. Mature Age case study

Hear from Barossa Village on their introduction of an employee Wellbeing Committee.

Barossa Village is located in Nuriootpa, in the heart of the Barossa Valley in South Australia. It is owned by the community and is operated as a not for profit public benevolent organisation in the retirement living and aged care sectors.

63 per cent of Barossa Village’s employees are aged between 45 to 65 years, with an additional 3 per cent aged over 65 years.  One of the priorities for Barossa Village is staff wellbeing, the health and wellbeing choices made at work are the key to having a healthy and productive workforce so the organisation introduced a Wellbeing Committee.
 
Since the Committee’s inception Barossa Village has introduced a number of initiatives and programs, such as a yoga program, physiotherapy for staff and customised return to work strategies. The group is also involved in actively training employees on well-being and health.

Taking a proactive approach to managing health and wellbeing of staff has seen positive results. The ability for staff to have a say in the developed of safety programs led to a dramatic decrease in the number of injury claims lodged and also led to an increase in the interest of staff in protecting the health and wellbeing of themselves and others within the workplace.

Because of their mature work force and the physical demands required to undertake their roles, the introduction of the Wellbeing Committee has assisted Barossa Village manage this risk.

Having a Wellbeing Committee helped the organisation to focus on, and plan for, how it deals with an ageing workforce and the likelihood and impact of multiple staff retirements within a relatively short period of time. But perhaps more important is the issue of staff wellbeing, particularly in a highly manual, tasks driven, aged care sector, and how as an organisation, Barossa Village are able to plan and transition people into other roles when they may no longer have the capacity to fulfil the roles for which they were originally employed.