Managing diverse talent is ‘highest organisational risk’

Retaining and recruiting talented employees has been described as “the highest organisational risk” at a leading health employer.

Speaking at the 2010 Ageing Workforce Conference this week, Mercy Health’s director of people, culture and learning, Kate McCormack described how ensuring the organisation has the right talent at the right time was paramount.

“We look at the demographics of our business and try to offer things that will make a difference to them,” she said.

To support Baby Boomers and particular working parents, for example, Mercy Health runs a Parent’s Network wherein staff on maternity leave are invited to have lunch with the CEO in order to discuss return to work options such as flexible or remote working.

Return to work rates have improved dramatically, with 97 per cent of staff coming back to Mercy Health following parental leave.

Also speaking at the event was Jeanette Wenborn, HR business partner at RTA NSW.

She said that the organisation – which employs 8,000 staff, 1,500 of which are over 55 and therefore approaching retirement – strives to engage mature workers, estimating that the total cost of ignoring them and allowing their expertise to leave would be $100,000,000.

“Many staff are in the retirement zone and their knowledge is about to walk out of the door. We have targeted them as critical factors for the ongoing success of the organisation,” said Wenborn.

This year has seen ‘My Journey’ launch at RTA NSW, a series of seminars designed to help those approaching retirement to share their knowledge with other staff, deal with their finances, and discuss flexible working options to keep them in the workplace beyond retirement.

“My Journey has been the catalyst for conversations between staff and managers to discuss the possibilities and options available at retirement. That’s normally a hard conversation to get started,” said Wenborn.