Skip to main content Site map

Blog

Five Myths about Baby Boomers Debunked

Engagement

Posted on: Wednesday April 18, 2018

The Baby Boomer generation has come under fire for a series of dangerous myths which threaten to spread resentment amongst our current multi-generational workforce. There is a growing perception that boomers are standing in the way of development and change, and that they will become a drain on the economy and the workplace.

However, the truth is that they are more likely to be loyal to a job, work longer hours and have amassed more years working experience than any other generation. 

Let’s have a quick look at some common Baby Boomer myths. 

Myth 1: Baby Boomers can’t deal with new technology. 

While Boomers may not be tech natives like Generation Z, or even as tech savvy as Millennials, they are catching up. In fact, baby boomers are the fastest growing demographic on social media, with the numbers using twitter and Facebook steadily rising. Older workers are eager to learn new skills, and research suggests that they may actually have superior study habits and make mistakes less frequently than younger learners. 

If you’re still worried about introducing your Boomers to new technology, then why not utilise face to face introductions to their new tech. We find face to face interactions to be invaluable when enrolling new members to their benefits programmes during roll-outs.

Myth 2: Baby Boomers don’t like change.

Boomers are just as adaptable as anyone else, they’re just more likely to want to understand the reasons for change. They’ve likely been with the company for longer, and feel a sense of loyalty towards to continuation of the ‘brand’. This can be a huge asset - It’s far better to have an employee who will point out any possible flaws in a plan rather than someone who will just blindly follow. 

Myth 3: Baby Boomers take more sick days than younger workers.

In fact, baby boomers actually take fewer days off than younger workers. Research has found that millennials are about twice as likely to take a day off than baby boomers. However, due to their age, health, travel and life insurance can be more expensive, which means that older workers may be more motivated by health-related benefits. It is possible for employers to offer these as an optional benefit, either company paid or at an additional cost to the employee, which allows them to access the benefit at a reduced price. 

Myth 4: Older workers are more expensive.

Although it may seem as though your older workers are working less, as they are the most likely demographic to take all of their annual leave, it turns out that they are actually more cost effective to employ in the long run due to their higher retention rates.

More workers should take holiday like the boomers do, as, for some, annual leave is one of very few chances they get to truly forget about work. Time off has been proven to reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace, so it’s no wonder that Boomers are working longer. 

Additionally, older workers are less likely to have dependents on any company paid healthcare plans, as their children will be adults themselves. For the same reason, they may also require less emergency leave due to childcare difficulties (that’s not to say that some grandparents are not still called in to look after grandchildren, but they will not have the same day to day pressures of childcare). 

Myth 5: Older workers are less productive.

A lot of Boomers are continuing their careers beyond the traditional retirement age in roles which involve far more mental than physical ability. Boomers are not only staying for longer in these roles, but they are also thriving. “In jobs where knowledge is the basis, you don’t see a performance deficit with age,” said Laura Carstensen, a psychologist and director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

It is not just that they need to work financially, they want to keep working. This is, in part, due to the acknowledgment they receive that they are still doing a good job. 

Boosting Benefits for Boomers

So, make sure you keep your focus on reward and recognition for your Boomer workforce, don’t underestimate them or their continued ambition, consider implementing health cover, either as a company paid or optional benefit, and make sure to keep up good face to face communications when introducing new technologies. 

Want more info? Check out our myths articles for each generation in your workforce here, and check out our benefits audit checklist to figure out how to update your benefits to better suit the needs of your multi-generational workforce.  

If you haven't already, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for weekly insights straight to your inbox.

Back

Student loan repayments – what’s the impact on your workforce and what can employers do to support those impacted by the cost of attending university?

We spoke with two of our HR experts at opposite ends of the generational spectrum: Innecto Reward Consultant Spencer Hughes, 27, who graduated from Swansea University in 2018 with a degree in Geography and Geoinformatics, and PG Business Development Director Andrew Walker, 59, who studied Modern Languages and linguistics at Aston University before student loans were introduced.

Posted on: 16 May 2024 by Andrew Walker, New Business Development Director, Spencer Hughes, Reward Consultant

Gearing up to combat the working-age health crisis

A recent BBC article entitled Why are we so ill? The working age health crisis, warns about the number of people being driven out of jobs because of ill health and refers to ‘one-fifth’ of the UK’s working age population living with a 'work-limiting condition'. This is a growing and serious issue that companies need to address to better understand and manage. 

Posted on: 3 May 2024 by Sarah Lardner, Director of Business Innovation

Seven ways to ensure your benefits technology is accessible to deskless workers

Our army of deskless workers need easy access to the benefits and products that matter to them the most. A drive for relevance, personalisation and speed should be at the heart of every effort we make to support them.

Posted on: 16 April 2024 by Andrew Walker, New Business Development Director

Speak to our experts about how Hapi can help drive employee value for your business.