Workforce Analytics Acadmey Part V: Birthdays

Author: Lois Melbourne, Co-founder and CEO of Aquire 

Why should we measure employees' birthdates? And, I am not talking about the cake and ice cream day.   That is a day that comes around once a year and although it is a set of numbers, it doesn’t tell you much about your workforce.   I’m talking about the date that raises awkwardness and discomfort. We need to talk about the date of one’s birth.  The day that tells us how old we are.  
Squirming about this conversation tells me a few things about you.  One, you are most likely American if the age of your workforce discussion makes you nervous.  Or, two, you are self conscious about your own age.
The age of our workforce is very important.  It is often a number that is VERY relevant in aggregate, sliced by departments, regions, territories or expertise.  The marching of time cannot be ignored nor can the fact that in Western Europe, Japan and the United States, we will be facing the largest percentage of retirement eligible workers we have EVER faced! 2011 has been the start of the big retirement curve we have been hearing about for decades.  Knowing how your workforce population is balanced in this aging workforce dilemma is important for many dynamics.  Recruiting, training, mentoring, outsourcing, succession planning are all very obviously impacted.
Benefits offerings and costs are significantly impacted by the age of the workforce, along with gender and many other dynamics.  While stereotyping and discrimination can be a problem, fact-based decision making should not be hindered by the inability to look at age impacts.  All ages might like to bring their dog to work, but some age groups are more likely than others to be impacted by changes in the maternity/paternity policies.
We use age of our audience to make decisions all of the time.  This is how we avoid booking Pink for our holiday party.  If you don’t know who Pink is – then she and I may have just made our point together.  So, don’t pretend you don’t need to know the demographics of your workforce and stop pussy footing around.  You need to give your workforce planners the ability to project appropriately, and your workforce demands and age is a critical component of that.
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