Increasing the engagement of older employees: how a legal services benefit can help

Recent figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the UK now has more than 10 million workers aged fifty and above1; a figure likely to increase over the years as the age at which people can take their state pensions rises.

What does this mean for employers keen to keep their workforce motivated, engaged and loyal?

Key facts:

• The UK now has more than 10 million workers aged fifty and above1
• By the middle of the 2020s it is projected that one-in-three workers will be aged 50 and above. In 1992 it was one-in-five2
• Of the 10 million over-50 workers, 1.2 million are aged 65 and above. In 1992 there were fewer than 500,0001
• Just 15% of people aged between 55 to 64 and 23% of aged 65+ have made a power of attorney3
• Nearly half (43%) of people aged between 55 to 64 and 63% of those aged 45 to 54 have not made a will3
• Just 3% of people aged between 55 to 64 and 4% of aged 65+ have made a living will3

Increasingly, employers are using benefits as way to both attract and retain high-performing employees. This is especially true where wages have remained static or there are high levels of competition within job sectors.

Over the years, the range of benefits being offered to employees has expanded and now include services designed to help workforces stay healthy, both physically and mentally. In addition to the more established benefits such as pensions, company cars and private medical insurance, many employers now offer counselling services, gym membership, free fruit and mindfulness sessions, to name just a few. Financial advice, too, has become a more prevalent benefit as the impact of employee financial hardship on workplace productivity has been recognised.

However, employers are also beginning to recognise that tailoring benefits to the needs of employees at specific points in their lives is crucial if rates of engagement are to be improved. Our own research3 revealed a variance in the level importance attached to certain benefits according to the age of employees. For example, 92% of employees aged between 18 and 24 valued gym membership, whereas only 40% of those aged 55 to 64 did. And, as you’d expect 63% of employees aged between 25 and 34 valued childcare vouchers, but only 9% of those aged 55 to 64 did.

The same survey showed that access to legal advice and help creating legal documents, such as wills was rated highly across all age groups, perhaps reflected in the low numbers of survey respondents who had made a will (41%), power of attorney (12%) or living will (5%).

The need for legal services tends to increase with age, as older people start to think about the future and how to protect their interests and those of their families. An employee in their 50s, for example, could have dependent children, as well as aging parents who need help sorting out their financial and legal affairs. And, as people live longer and the number affected by diseases such as dementia grow, the need to have legal documents such as lasting powers of attorney or living wills in place, becomes more urgent.

Giving employees in this situation easy access to services which help them plan ahead and safeguard their interests with documents such as wills, powers of attorney, trusts or living wills, can help to increase engagement with a benefits scheme and build loyalty to the employer. And, when these services are made available via an online portal, employers will benefit from reduced absences from work, as well as less stressed employees.

For more information about our legal services benefit, please email or call us on 020 8731 2424.

1 ONS Labour Market Statistic, 24 January 2018
2 Aviva/ONS
3 Epoq Consumer Needs Research, 2017