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FSCS - Finalist in the Aviva Award for Championing an Ageing Workforce

Award Type: 

Finalist in the Aviva Award for Championing an Ageing Workforce

Forget the mid-life crisis, FSCS supports people with their mid-life career.

Key highlights

  • The company employs people from age 22 to 69
  • 20 per cent of its emerging leaders are over 45
  • Over 45s now account for nearly a third of the FSCS work-force
  • Recruiting and retaining older workers has a positive impact on the bottom line
  • Retaining older workers has saved the company 6.5 per cent in recruitment costs

A third of people born in 2013 will live to see 100. And that means the work environment is going to change. Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is doing something about it by helping its over 50s staff get more out of life at work and at home.

As it turns out, not everyone wants a big helium balloon with the numbers 5 and 0 plastered on the side, floating above their desk on their birthday. “There is still a degree of sensitivity around age as a topic,” says David Blackburn, head of people at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). “Whilst clearly someone’s gender and ethnic origin is visible, people can be quite sensitive about age.”

Looking forward to a confident future

Nevertheless, an ageing workforce is something that needs discussing – after all, the firm’s ‘Vision for a Confident Future’ document, published three years ago, showed that in order to be future fit, there needed to be significant transformation, including for its long-serving and older workers.

With a third of those born in 2013 expected to live to 100, the work environment is genuinely going to change, says Blackburn. “If people are living to 100, realistically the idea of the three stage life – you get education, you go to work and you retire – is going to look really different. Because actually people might have three, four or five careers during their lifetime.”

It was also clear from the report that the FSCS needed to be ready for a digital future, and that staff were able to service customers’ digital expectations, among other things.

That said, the firm avoided falling into the trap of stereotypes – like all older workers being slightly behind the times when it comes to their use of technology and needing IT training, says Blackburn. “It’s true in some cases but certainly not true universally.”

Instead, Blackburn himself had an initial 1-2-1 discussion with over 50s about the types of support they did want. What surfaced, across a number of themes, was financial education, wellbeing, flexible working, and learning opportunities.

Initially, the plan was to focus on the learning needs and life at work for older workers. So, as well as offering guidance and support around financial planning, health and retraining,

FSCS has also been supporting staff with life at home, like caring, writing wills and ‘empty-nest’ syndrome.

Making the most of mid-life

Making the Most of Mid-Life is a tool-kit of resources and learning opportunities on a broad range of topics, from pensions advice to demystifying the menopause, as well as 1-2-1 mid-life career conversations.

Alongside this, the FSCS also wanted to increase the number of older workers at the firm.

Now, the company employs people from age 22 to 69, and over 20 per cent of its emerging leaders are over 45. In fact, over 45s now account for nearly a third (30 per cent) of the FSCS work-force, with this age group attending over 500 learning and development sessions in 2016.

And there is clear benefit for older workers feeling valued – not just for the individual themselves, but for those that report to them and the business at large. FSCS maintains skills and expertise but also encourages mentoring and knowledge sharing to pass it on, and employee engagement is also up by 45 points, an increase of 6 per cent.

Retaining older workers

Recruiting and retaining older workers has a positive impact on the bottom line. Customer satisfaction has jumped from around 58 per cent to 77 per cent, and retaining 60 per cent more of its older employees in 2016 than in 2015 has saved the company 6.5 per cent in recruitment costs.

Last year, 17 per cent of FSCS’s total recruitment were over 50; a further 11 per cent were over 45. The average age across the Scheme increased from 38 to 39.

More of the firm’s older workers – some 94 per cent of over 55s - believe that they can make a valuable contribution to the success of the organisation, and are much happier about the quality of the learning and career opportunities that the company provides, according to a people survey in 2016.

One such beneficiary of the scheme, Insurance and Pensions Adviser Robbie Graham, is able to continue to share his lifetime of experience and expertise due to flexible working arrangements. At nearly 70 years old, Robbie is on a zero hours contract. “FSCS’s policies and practices generally are very progressive in my view and my flexible working arrangements (currently averaging about four days a month, with remote access for keeping in touch and occasionally working from home) permit me to blend my work with my retirement.”

People’s expectations at work are changing, Blackburn notes. Gone are the days when employees will happily sit at a desk expecting nothing more than the pay. “They expect the organisation to be congruent with their values; they expect the organisation to have an interest in them.”