Mid-life MOTs: creating good jobs for older workers

Post author image. Angela Watson
Business in the Community’s Age Campaign Manager, Angela Watson, considers how mid-life MOTs can help shape good work in later working lives.

At Business in the Community (BITC) we are asking the question: ‘What if your job was good for you?’ Our What If Your Job Was Good For You? report published earlier this year, highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic is providing a once in a lifetime opportunity to reinvent the world of work for the better. The challenge is to co-create new ways of working, with employees enabled to shape their work, supported by managers and aligned with organisational policy and practice.

Mid-life MOTs and creating good work

BITC’s engagement with age has already helped people shape the later stages of their working lives. Working with members of our Age Taskforce we have developed and piloted mid-life MOTs. These provide older employees with the opportunity to work with their employer and line managers to reflect on their job and put this in the context of other commitments. These can include their personal health and wellbeing and their aspirations for retirement. Mid-life MOTs have been especially championed by Aviva, a member of BITC’s Age Taskforce. I would recommend reading Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva’s blog on building a more age inclusive working culture.

What do older workers need?

BITC’s mid-life MOT pilot identified three core priorities for participants: work, wellbeing and future finances. Our Mental Health at Work 2020 report found two in five employees experience poor mental health caused by work, with pressure being a particular issue1. For older workers, the biggest driver of early exits from the workforce is health, followed by caring2. Helping older workers balance their health needs and caring responsibilities with their job will allow people to stay in work for longer.

Menopause is also a significant issue, with evidence showing that one in four women think about giving up work as a result of menopausal symptoms3 and that more than 1 million women have already done so4. Older workers may also wish to avoid a ‘cliff-edge retirement’, using options for flexible working to continue to work for longer in a way that suits and enables them5.

The mid-life MOT allows critical conversations to identify any conflicts between work and personal circumstances. This helps employees and their employers find ways to shape roles so people stay in employment for longer. This is a win not only for the employee but also the employer, who holds on to their knowledge and experience, with benefits to the business bottom line.

How do mid-life MOTs work?

How employers can implement mid-life MOTs is detailed in BITC’s toolkits The Mid-Life MOT: Getting Started and The Mid-Life MOT: Helping Employees Navigate Mid-Life (accessible to BITC members only).

The key is an approach which allows both employers and employees to find the most suitable method. One-to-one conversations with line managers or HR have been used by some employers. Others have drawn on career professionals to help people articulate their aspirations and shape a job that works. Finance professionals can provide much-needed advice to help people know when they can afford to retire, so workshops and training sessions may be part of the mix, together with online signposting and support. You can find details on the options in our mid-life toolkits.  

The challenge for business

As we get back to ‘business as normal’ after the pandemic, now is a golden opportunity to get this right, and make work ‘work’ for your employees, whatever their age. BITC can help you.

If you are a BITC member, speak to your Relationship Manager about how we can help you create a more age-inclusive workplace. Contact our team if you are not sure who your Relationship Manager is.

If you are not a member, find out how you can join BITC’s network and get support to help you build a better world of work.    

What If Your Job Was Good For You?

References

  1. Business in the Community (2020) Mental Health at Work 2020: key findings.
  2. Department for Work and Pensions (2017) Fuller Working Lives: evidence base 2017.
  3. ITV News (2016) Quarter of women going through menopause ‘considered leaving work’, 23 November.
  4. Burden, Lizzy (2021) Many Women Exit Workforce for a Little-Talked About Reason, Bloomberg, 18 June.
  5. Toureille, Claire (2019) Half of older workers want to avoid a ‘cliff edge’ retirement, People Management, 9 January.