Investing in the Development of Over-55 Professionals

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Sadly, too many 55/Redefined members tell us that their existing employer stopped investing in their training and development as they moved into their 50s. Step in Azets, one of Europe’s largest regional accountancy and business advisory firm to lead from the front…


Sadly, too many 55/Redefined members tell us that their existing employer stopped investing in their training and development as they moved into their 50s or as we move out of the Pandemic and back to a new normal, not enough is done to invest in their wellbeing and support of new ways of working.

Setting new standards in this area are Azets are one of Europe’s largest regional accountancy and business advisory firms to over 120,000 small and mid-sized clients as well as Public Sector and Not For Profit Sector too. They are multi -award winning and growing at an incredible rate, so we thought we’d take a deeper look as to why and ask specifically what they are doing to support older employees as they continue their careers.

55/R – What are you doing to support the careers of your over 55 employees?


Azets Reach! is our Global Talent Programme. It delivers a range of initiatives to support the development and career journeys of all our Azets employees, meeting the needs of both employees and clients today and into the future. It inspires and motivates individuals to perform at their best but importantly provides the resources to enable that. For example, we have 100’s of courses available via this portal so that personal development is specific to the individual. This also includes legislative updates so we can help keep everyone updated with any recent changes.

55/R – You are publicly leading a campaign to bring back retired professionals back into the workforce, what made you decide to do this?


We believe there is a natural win:win. As with any professional services firm, we face resourcing challenges in peak periods, such as tax year end or summer holidays. It is not easy for us to bring in temporary workers to cover this given the complexity of the work we do. At the same time, we believe there are professionals who have retired from the sector who want to keep their hand in, but don’t want to work full-time. Or perhaps they have found themselves retiring too soon and regret that decision or life has changed for them for a number of factors which means they may need to top up their savings and income whilst doing valuable work.

The real positive to come out of the COVID 19 pandemic is that we are now able to support entirely flexible ways of working, from any location, which wasn’t the case before. So we believe if we can create attractive, flexible roles for retirees, we can help them achieve their personal goals too and create that win:win where we help each other.

55/R – With the changes to work that have resulted due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, how are you helping your teams adjust now that work is returning to some normality?


Our ‘Working Together Apart’ wellbeing programme was rolled-out during the pandemic and continues to be a great resource that we keep adding to. Some examples of what are included within it are:

Mindfulness – We believe this is a really important part of looking after your mental health, so we feature everything from ten minute TED Talks to learn more about it through to more advanced content and support in our Mental Wellbeing section.

Managing Teams Remotely For our managers, we provide webinars and e-learning to help provide inspiration and best practice on how to manage a team remotely for the longer term.

Confidential Counselling – We have partnered with a programme called YuLife to enable our teams to access a 24/7 counselling service called Workplace Options, which includes a website full of help and resources for a huge range of topics – from grief and loss to parenting, ageing, addiction, and lots more. The service is there to help our teams with whatever stress or challenge they might be facing, free of charge.

Technology Basics Being away from colleagues makes it doubly hard to just lean over to the next desk and say “how do I do this on Teams” or “how do you change the backdrop on a video call”. So we provide bitesize refresher training and tips on the different systems we use and have become more reliant upon so everyone is able to feel confident using the new technologies we’ve all adopted.

Communicating with Others – Again the switch to more remote working has made it even more important to improve how we effectively talk to and work with different personality types when we don’t have the usual physical clues to help us. Webinars and tips and training help us all to continuously pick up new skills and learn from each other.

55/R – Caroline Hutchins, as Chief People Officer of Azets, what would you say to over 55 professionals who are thinking of making a move and do not feel valued where they are?


We are committed to leading the pack when it comes to inclusivity and age diversity. We see huge value in our over 55 workforce, hence we are keen to grow it. Not only do they provide strong leadership, excellent client engagement and bring a wealth of experience to our organisation, but as we also develop and grow the next generation, we embrace the opportunity for reverse mentoring, enabling the exchange of skills, knowledge and understanding between our youngest and most senior advisors.

Please click here to find out more about the Azets roles available on 55/Redefined and to apply.