Barclays has brought greater diversity to their workforce, gained insight into their older customer base, and created new opportunities for older workers through apprenticeships, flexible working, role models and digital skills champions.
Good for society
- The programme returns the skills and experience of unemployed older workers to the workforce.
- It builds intergenerational understanding through increased diversity.
Good for business
- By making Barclays a 'destination employer' for older workers, the company has recruited and retained talent and experience.
- It has led to increased company insight into the need to develop more attractive products and services for older customers.
Barclays set out to understand how an ageing global population will affect work and workplaces. Its research revealed that half of unemployed people aged 50 and over want to work, but almost a third believe their age is a barrier.
Barclays Multigenerational Programme explores new ways of working which help to retain the skills and experience of older workers, increase workforce diversity, and create worthwhile opportunities for those who may have felt that their careers were over. These include the following:
The Bolder apprenticeship scheme creates new employment routes for older people: more than a third of those recruited are over 50.
Barclays Dynamic Working programme supports staff to work flexibly.
'Silver Eagles' recruited from retired Barclays staff provide role models for younger colleagues and older customers, particularly through digital skills sessions.
The Return to Work programme enables senior women to resume their careers after time away from the workplace.
These initiatives have created meaningful work opportunities, giving older people greater financial independence and mental wellbeing, and increased intergenerational understanding within and beyond the workplace. Barclays has benefited too by expanding its talent pool, increasing brand value, and gaining greater understanding of older customers’ needs.
Understanding the problem
Barclays recognised that a more active and strategic approach to building an age-inclusive workplace would bring benefits for the company and their customers. To ensure its plans would make a real difference to older workers, Barclays commissioned external research with people over 50.
With five generations working for the company and a large retired workforce, Barclays' own current and former staff were also a rich source of insight. Listening forums helped the Bank to understand where to improve its employee offering and services for older customers.
Barclays used a number of techniques to engage staff in its Multigenerational Programme and provide information about available support, including:
Regular email updates, through which staff were invited to contribute their ideas and insights.
Real life flexible working case studies, drawn from interviews with Barclays employees.
Employee-led workshops for line managers which challenged assumptions about older workers.
An online alumni portal launched to maintain contact with former workers.
Building an age-inclusive brand
Barclays understood that being a multigenerational workplace would help to strengthen its brand, especially with older customers, so it invested in several external communications initiatives:
Digital Eagles adverts profiling Barclays' practical support for older people to develop digital skills,
Promotion via Pensioners Forums and Pensioner magazine,
Events to mark International Day of Older Persons including ‘Tea and Teach’ digital skills sessions, and
Speaking spots at industry conferences.
Leaders at every level of Barclays are accountable for the company's strategy, including the Multigenerational Programme. Progress against key milestones in the programme is measured continuously and shared with stakeholders through smart dashboards. Focus is maintained through individual performance management objectives, and success is recognised and celebrated through awards and public thanks.
What Barclay's Group Human Resource Director, Executive Sponsor for the Multigenerational Agenda said:
“The Multigenerational Agenda is one of the five pillars of our Diversity and Inclusion strategy and is about supporting colleagues at specific times in their careers and life stages within Barclays.” - Irene McDermott Brownm Group Human Resources Director and Executive Sponsor for the Multigenerational Agenda, Barclays