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Planning Retirement Online

Retirement - time to get a job                                     September 2009 


Retirement – time to get a job!

Brian & JoanneOne of the major changes in modern retirement is that instead of the event marking the end of a lifetime’s employment, today it can mark the start of a completely new career.

It really is very exciting. A range of major companies such as Tesco all have an employment policy which recognizes the value of older workers.

A major study has just been completed on this subject and it proves interesting. The research was carried out by Lancaster University Management School which examined the performance of more than 400 McDonald’s restaurants across the UK.

McDonald’s is one of Britain’s major employees which has no hesitation in employing suitable older workers; around two-fifths of its restaurants employ staff aged 60 or over.

The research found that employees aged 60 plus deliver a significant business boost. The study revealed that levels of customer satisfaction were on average 20 per cent higher in restaurants that employ staff aged 60 and over.

A survey of McDonald’s restaurant managers revealed the reasons behind the customer satisfaction boost delivered by later life workers:

  • Over two thirds (69%) said later life workers empathise with and connect well with customers
  • Almost half (47%) cited later life workers’ ability to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible customer service
  • 44% believed later life workers brought mentoring skills to the workplace, helping younger colleagues develop and mature

David Fairhurst, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s UK & Northern Europe, said:
“Changing demographics in the workplace mean that later life workers are now the fastest growing age group in the labour market. Yet despite the growing numbers of mature workers, their contribution to business and the wider economy often goes unsung. It might surprise people to learn that at McDonald’s we employ over 1000 people aged 60 and above. These employees play an important role in our business and, as the research shows, they make a huge impact on customer satisfaction.

McDonald’s have kindly provided us with two case histories of older workers in its restaurants. They make interesting reading and hopefully will be a boost to anyone thinking of getting a new job after retirement.

1. Meet Brian Holden, now aged 80, who has been working at McDonald’s in Aston Under Lyne since he retired in 1992!

Brian’s story:

Brian & Joanne

80 year old Brian Holden loves working with the younger crew members; while Joanne Alsop (right) says Brian is a real inspiration.

After taking voluntary redundancy in 1992 at the age of 63, Brian Holden contemplated early retirement.

However, believing he still had lots to offer a prospective employer, Brian opted instead to put his friendly people skills to good use by taking on a part-time role at his local McDonald’s. Seventeen years on Brian’s still going strong and despite having just celebrated his eightieth birthday, he has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Having worked with young people for many years as a lab technician at a local college, Brian relishes the young and vibrant atmosphere at McDonald’s. In his role as a customer care assistant, Brian oversees the dining area and loves the constant interaction with customers. In fact, for Brian, one of the most satisfying aspects of the job is the opportunity it offers him to meet so many different people. Whether young or old, Brian loves getting to know the restaurant’s regular customers.

Brain says, “I find some of the older customers respond really well to me, they often seek me out for a quick chat – I guess they enjoy being served by someone of a similar age. But I get on well with younger customers too. I’ve had plenty of experience of dealing with young people in my previous job, so I feel I can relate well to all our customers, no matter what their age.

“Obviously, I’m quite a bit older than everyone else who works in the restaurant, but we all get on really well. It’s fair to say, throughout my time at McDonald’s there has always been a fantastic team spirit. With 17 years McDonald’s experience under my belt and whole lot more life and work experience, I like to think I’m something of an example to some of the younger staff. After all, I’ve seen quite a lot of life, so it’s great to be able to call on that experience to help out my colleagues.”

During his free time, Brian loves to take day trips across the UK, something he says he wouldn’t be able to do without the flexibility provided by his job at McDonald’s. “When you get to my age you want to make the most of your time. That’s why I love to travel around the UK when I’m not at work,” says Brian. “One of the best things about McDonald’s is the flexibility. I can pick my shifts to suit my travel plans, which, for me, is just perfect.”

Crew member Joanne Alsop, 18, says Brian is not just a favourite with the customers, but also with this colleagues. “All the staff look up to him,” she says. “He’s a real inspiration, who is always happy to share advice and help out new starters when they are finding their feet. I just hope I’ve got his energy when I’m eighty years old!”

Meet Jean Bulmer, 62, who has been working for McDonald’s for three years after being made redundant.

Jean Bulmer’s story:

jeanne & Kylie

62 year old Jean Bulmer joined McDonald’s after being made redundant. Now she works with her granddaughter Kylie (left) and loves every minute of it.

Jean was made redundant after 30 years in a job on her local paper.

She said she spent two months at home and soon became fed up. “I decided retirement wasn’t for me and chose to be proactive about finding a new job,” she said. “I walked into my local McDonald’s, asked the franchisee about job opportunities and the next thing I knew I was offered my current role as a Customer Care Assistant!

“The best thing about my role is being able to talk to customers all day. I have made so many friends here; crew members, customers and all of differing ages.

“I think as an older person I am well suited to my position as I have the ability and confidence to communicate well with customers and colleagues alike – a quality I believe comes with experience. Working with younger people enables me to learn and share these skills and in turn, gain new skills from them. I also like to think they keep me young and really enjoy our frequent social events.

“Two of my grandchildren also now work in the same McDonald’s restaurant and I think for them, at their age, it’s a fantastic position to be in as there are plenty of career opportunities available and so much scope to develop.

I would definitely recommend McDonald’s to someone of a similar age or situation to myself. I thoroughly enjoy it and believe that many others would do too and could offer so much to their local restaurant.”

Many companies now welcome workers of any age. Sometimes is can be best just to approach a prospective employer rather than wait to see a job advertised. This is what Jean Bulmer did (see story above) and look at what she has achieved.


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