National planning and development consultancy Turley has met the challenge of catering to an age-diverse workforce by taking time to understand its employees as people, rather than demographics.
Turley has 240 employees, 30% of whom are over the age of 40. The majority are between 25 and 35, but the organisation also takes on graduates and students. This creates a vast range, between those just starting out in their careers, through to employees who have been there since the organisation’s formation 35 years ago.
Chrysta Poppitt, senior director, HR at Turley, says: “Coming into an [organisation] at a younger age and having the financial burden of student loans is a bind for [employees], it’s a big challenge to start investing and saving for the future when actually they’re struggling to pay their own debts.
“Then there’s [employees] who are more senior and they’re not retiring as early as they used to. They have the choice to work for longer, and some have to because they have children coming back home and there’s quite a burden of costs in that sense.”
For the last two years, the organisation has undertaken an inclusion and diversity survey, which asks about gender, age, marital status and other aspects such as child and elder care responsibilities, which are faced by 30% of its workforce.
This year, Turley has added a new element to its research into employees’ needs, working with JLT Employee Benefits and Boost to canvass employees about their financial wellbeing.
The survey, which took place in mid-May 2018, had a 90% response rate, which Poppitt credits in part to the added safety of anonymity provided by using an independent third party.
“The idea behind it was to get a snapshot now, and build a programme around that and enable people to personalise their benefits more,” explains Poppitt.
The survey asked employees a variety of questions, including whether they are happy with the amount they are setting aside for retirement, whether they feel they have enough time to make good financial decisions, whether they are confident about managing money, and to what extent they expect their employer to help.
“JLT’s information, when they shared their initial report, said that [employees] who were older actually have less disposable income, because of the commitments they have,” says Poppitt. “I hadn’t really thought about that before undertaking this research.”
The survey revealed that 20% of employees were struggling financially, and 60% weren’t happy with the amount that they were setting aside for retirement. These are issues that, albeit for different reasons, span multiple generations of employees.
Turley aims to improve the financial wellbeing of its employees year on year. “We have a financial wellbeing index, a mark out of 10,” explains Poppitt. “We would expect, given the work we will do between now and next year, that that indicator will improve, and the next year we will do it again.”