Unretired" Workers: The Next Untapped Talent Pool?"

April 7th, 2017

Jon-Mark Sabel



Every week we corral the latest and greatest HR news, articles, and insights, compiling them here in a weekly roundup. In this week's roundup, we examine the growing trend of "unretiring," hourly hiring best practice, and generational differences in benefit prioritization. We'll also take a look at the habits of dysfunctional teams and unconscious gender bias in the workplace.

7 Reasons HR Needs to Learn About Unretirement

Sharlyn Lauby, HRBartender

Unretirement is a relatively recent concept. Based on the idea that you can work on the things you want while doing more of the things you enjoy, it is a trend HR needs to take note of. Sharlyn Lauby provides seven reasons “unretirement” needs to be on every HR function’s radar:

  1. Recruitment. In the emerging gig economy, having a contingent workforce is a business necessity. The “unretired” are already familiar with your processes, and you already know their strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Employee Referrals. Contingent workers are a great source of employee referrals - which are still the best quality and lowest cost of hire.
  3. Employee Engagement. Those that are “unretired” tend to only do the work they like, so employee engagement is not as much of an issue.
  4. Knowledge Management. Keeping people familiar with the history of your business around is incredibly useful from a strategic perspective. Knowing where you’ve been can assist with planning for the future.
  5. Learning and Development. “Organizations might find it beneficial to create short peer-based training programs as a way to pass along skills and knowledge,” Lauby says.
  6. Performance Management. Going with the above point, the “unretired” are great sources of mentorship for new employees.
  7. Replacement and Succession Planning. 10,000 people reach retirement age every day. Creating an exit strategy is a great way for organizations to mitigate mass migration from the workforce.

HV Analysis:

It seems like we cover an article related to the “gig economy” every week. In this post, Lauby provides a refreshing new take on a topic that has been beaten to death: that the gig economy is not just for young people. Due to advances in modern medicine, the average human lifespan is the longest it has been in history - and many financial systems that assist with retirement are not able to keep up. As a result, unretiring may become the only way to remain fiscally afloat. On the other hand, there has generally been a balance between the youth entering the workforce and those retiring. There might be cause for concern if “unretired” gig workers retain their positions at the expense of those entering the workforce: decades of experience and “gig” pay are a combination that the young and inexperienced just can’t compete with.

The New Brutal Reality of Hourly Hiring

Tim Sackett, Fistful of Talent

With unemployment at near-record lows, there are millions of hourly jobs available in the US. “In 2016, hourly job growth in the food and beverage industry outpaced broader economic job growth by 4X,” Tim Sackett begins. “And a Cornell study recently found that the cost of turnover for one hourly position was $5,864.” Of course, this isn’t the direct cost to Talent Acquisition - that number comes out to something around $750. But factoring in the cost of training, the lower productivity of a new hire, and increased over time due to vacancy makes that number skyrocket to over $5,000. For TA, it is more important to hire a quality candidate that sticks around longer, rather than fueling the recruiting equivalent of a hamster ball. Sackett provides four tips to accomplish this:

  1. Start picking from a pool of higher quality hourly applicants. This means keeping a healthy pipeline of interested candidates - and for that, you probably need some help from technology.
  2. You have to invest in, and religiously use, assessments specifically designed for hourly hiring. Results from these heavily correlate with tenure, productivity, guest satisfaction, and gross profit.
  3. Stop hiring warm bodies. “Start with hiring people that are truly fans of your brand,” Sackett says. “Many of your best employees are your best customers.”
  4. Get your local managers and leaders involved in community organizations. Since hourly hiring relies heavily on local talent pools, getting involved at a local level grants access to a huge pool of untapped talent.

HV Analysis:

It seems that hourly hiring is in a bit of a Catch-22. Due to the high rate of turnover and the potential for lackluster productivity, assessments are basically a necessity. On the other hand, deploying a 300+ question assessment is an easy way to get the best candidates to drop out of the hiring process. Since this is a HireVue analysis, addressing this conundrum is a layup. By combining the 20,000+ data points present in a video interview (word choice, facial movements, etc.) with I/O Psychology and predictive analytics, we can build a 15-minute assessment with the same correlative strength as its traditional, 300+ question counterpart. For the sake of completion, I should mention that gamification providers are doing some nifty stuff when it comes to evaluating specific skills. Needless to say, the assessment conundrum is one of the many aspects of the hiring process that tech can help with.

From Boomers to Millennials, Here Are Workers’ Top 6 Benefits Needs

Jared Bilski, HRMorning

Employees have vastly different benefits needs, depending on which demographic they fall into. From a recent LIMRA study, here they are, ranked according to each demographics’ priorities: 34 and under:

  1. Base Pay
  2. Career Opportunities
  3. Retirement Plan
  4. Low Healthcare Costs
  5. Bonus & Incentives
  6. Flexible Scheduling


  1. Base Pay
  2. Retirement Plan
  3. Low Healthcare Costs
  4. Bonus & Incentives
  5. Paid Time Off
  6. Flexible Scheduling


  1. Base Pay
  2. Retirement Plan
  3. Low Healthcare Costs
  4. Bonus & Incentives
  5. Paid Time Off
  6. Type of Work


  1. Base Pay
  2. Retirement Plan
  3. Type of Work
  4. Bonus & Incentives
  5. Low Healthcare Costs
  6. Working for a Respectable Organization

HV Analysis:

It should come as no surprise that everyone’s first priority is getting paid a competitive salary, though it is interesting that only the youngest demographic place a priority on career opportunities.

Also notable is the oldest demographic’s emphasis on working for a respectable organization. Employer branding initiatives would have you believe that the notoriously difficult-to-recruit Millennial generation cares most about the corporate ethics of those they work for, but that does not seem to be the case (according to this survey, anyway).

4 Habits Of Highly Dysfunctional Teams

Colin Price & Sharon Toye, ERE Media

According to Colin Price and Sharon Toye’s recent research, only 13% of teams could be classified as “top performers.” On the other hand, 27% could be classified as lagging or outright derailing. Sometimes the best way forward is to evaluate what’s holding you back. Price and Toye provide four habits that hold back dysfunctional teams:

  1. Failure to Mobilize. Dysfunctional teams lack a common understanding of what is expected of them. They focus on themselves, rather than a common task.
  2. Poor Execution. “Lagging teams make excuses when it comes to addressing poor performers,” Price and Toye explain. “Fear of retaliation is common among lagging or derailing teams.”
  3. Inability to Transform. When certain members dominate conversations, teams become stagnant and unable to evolve with the needs of their customers.
  4. Lack of Agility. Inflexibility, a focus on hindsight, and victim mentalities are all symptomatic of a team lacking agility. Instead of focusing on the past, dysfunctional teams should “practice the art of foresight and eagerly scan the environment for signs of change.”

HV Analysis:

Each of the four habits listed comes as a direct result of deficient soft skills. Communication ability, the ability to think critically and creatively, and the ability to work in teams: all are lacking in the above four habits of dysfunctional teams. It stands to reason, then, that a greater emphasis should be placed on evaluating soft skills in the hiring process. While poor leadership practice and company culture might play a role in making teams dysfunctional, if you’re hiring people that can’t communicate and don’t work well in teams, even the best leadership training will only offer marginal returns.

The Truth About Unconscious Bias In The Workplace

Valerie Martinelli, TalentCulture

“Each of us maintains unconscious beliefs about various social & identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize a social world by categorizing,” Valerie Martinelli begins. “Unconscious bias can be more prevalent than we realize and it can also be more difficult to free workplaces of.” She presents three places unconscious bias has the potential to run rampant:

  1. Hiring. “It is important to define requirements for a position carefully because women will not apply unless they meet 100 percent of them,” Martinelli says. “When advertising for a position, choose words carefully because some will work against bringing candidates in.”
  2. Promotions. Flexible hours, telecommuting options, and family leave are all examples of policies that support equality. By accommodating each individual’s needs without punishment, you open the door to more fair promotions.
  3. Feedback. Women traditionally have been more thoroughly critiqued for being “aggressive” in the workplace. We need to understand that unconscious feedback can affect the weight we place on each person’s actions.

When it comes to combatting gender bias, it is important for employers to learn from each other and work together to build a collection of best practices for performance reviews, advertisements for new positions, and promotions. So where does HR fit into the picture? Martinelli provides three ways for HR to help organizations uncover and combat unconscious bias in the workplace:

  • Provide awareness training.
  • Create structures for employees to point out bias in the workplace.
  • Label the types of bias that are likely to occur.

HV Analysis:

Inclusive workplaces, on average, generate 30% more revenue per employee. You would think that such a promising way to boost revenue would guarantee stronger efforts to make the workplace more diverse - but here we sit. Maritinelli makes a great point in her identification of the job description as an overlooked place of bias. Changing the description’s focus from what the job demands to what it can provide would be a great place to start. There are also some great tools on the market that analyze job descriptions for gender and race-biased wording. It is worth noting that video interviewing platforms allow recruiters to evaluate their own decision-making. If there is unconscious bias at play, they will be able to identify it by analyzing trends in who they screen out and who they move forward in the process.

Inclusive workplaces generate 30% more revenue per employee - but when it comes to diversity hiring, there's still a "reality gap."

A complex problem requires a complex solution. Start tackling unconscious bias with these three approaches.