Investing in the technological upskilling of mature age workers can bring many benefits to your organisation, affecting not just productivity but also the overall work environment. Below, we delve into the quantitative and qualitative advantages:
Time and productivity
Upskilling older workers in technology can unlock significant time savings. For instance, if an older worker currently takes twice the amount of time to complete a task that involves tech-savviness, providing appropriate training could halve this time. Even if one mature worker manages to save 30 minutes per week, multiply this by the number of mature workers in your team and you have a significant cumulative effect. The result is not only improved productivity but also cost savings in the long term.
When employees, regardless of their age, feel competent and skilled in their roles, their confidence boosts. This heightened sense of self-efficacy can positively affect the morale of the entire team. Younger workers benefit as well, as they will likely feel less burdened with tech-related questions from their older colleagues, allowing for a more cohesive and harmonious workplace.
Equalising tech skills across all age groups within the workplace can be an effective way to combat age discrimination. When every team member is equally proficient in using necessary tools and systems, managers and colleagues are less likely to perceive age in terms of job performance, contributing to an age inclusive work environment.
Example ROI calculation
It is often possible to calculate a Return on Investment (ROI) for upskilling mature age workers in tech skills.
Step 1: Estimate the quantitative costs of the skills gap
This involves estimating the amount of additional time that a mature age worker spends on tasks due to the skills gap, as well as the time that colleagues spend assisting them.
It can be helpful to use a time tracking tool such as Toggl to capture accurate data on how much time each item is taking. Mature age workers and their colleagues may over or under estimate the time involved depending on their perceptions of the situation.
Below is an example calculation based on a real scenario involving an experienced senior clinician at an allied health practice.
|Activity||Time per week (hours)||Cost per hour||Total cost per week|
|Additional time spent by the mature age worker on workplace tasks due to challenges with technology||4 hours||$80||$320|
|Time spent by the worker’s manager assisting them with technology issues||1 hour||$100||$100|
|Time spent by the admin team completing or correcting tasks that are the responsibility of the worker, as they are not comfortably using the system||2 hours||$50||$100|
|Time spent by the tech support team assisting the worker with technology issues||0.5 hours||$100||$50|
|Total cost per week||7.5 hours||$570|
|Total cost per month (4 weeks)||30 hours||$2,280|
|Total cost per year (52 weeks)||390 hours||$29,640|
In this example the skills gap for the mature age clinician was costing the business $2280 per month, or $29,640 per year.
Step 2: Estimate the qualitative costs of the skills gap
In addition to estimating the time and cost, it’s important to estimate the qualitative costs of the skills gap. In this example of the senior clinician the qualitative costs included:
- Risk of the senior clinician leaving, and the business losing their important skills and expertise.
- Low morale and frustration by the admin team and manager.
- Client complaints due to the clinician having difficulty using Zoom for virtual appointments.
- Errors on invoicing and reporting as a result of the clinician having difficulty using the client management system.
- Data security issues as a result of the senior clinician clicking on suspicious links in emails, and accidentally sharing sensitive data on Zoom.
When estimating the qualitative costs it can be useful to look through our article on Tech skills for mature age workers: Unpacking the challenges
Step 3: Estimate the cost to close the skills gap
Once you have calculated the quantitative and qualitative cost of the skills gap it is time to select an appropriate training strategy and estimate the cost of training. Costs will vary depending on the training method used and the number of employees to be trained.
Step 4: Calculate the ROI
To calculate the ROI divide the total cost to the business of the tech skills gap, by the total cost of training. For example, if the training course for the clinician cost $2000 then in the first year the ROI would be:
$29,640 / $2000 = $15 saved for every $1 spent on training
By acting on this data and implementing a structured training program it is possible to close the tech skills gap for mature age workers, and generate a range of benefits as a result. It’s an investment in fostering a more inclusive, efficient, and harmonious workplace.
This post is part of our series Tech skills training for mature age workers: A comprehensive guide for employers