Building the case for mid-life career interventions – A literature review informed by the experience of Aviva UK

As society ages, finding ways to encourage and support people to have fuller working lives has the potential to benefit both employers and employees, as well as wider society.

The Cridland Review proposed that one way to support fuller working lives would be through the provision of a “mid-life MOT”: a programme of support and information on work, wealth and wellbeing for people in their 50s and 60s. This idea is now being tested by Aviva UK, who are rolling out a Mid-Life MOT to their people aged 45 and over.

To inform this work, and to better understand the potential of midlife career interventions, ILC has explored the extent to which existing evidence backs the idea that offering support to employees can lead to improved business outcomes. Findings from the literature include:

  • Concepts related to confidence, such as self-efficacy and psychological capital, have been linked to improved productivity, improved employee performance, and reduced absenteeism.
  •  Employee engagement can be enhanced through support programmes, and this in turn can improve job performance, reduce intentions to leave, and drive greater “organisational citizenship” for the benefit of businesses.
  • One study found that businesses with the most engaged employees have 21% higher productivity, 22% higher profitability, and 37% lower absenteeism.
  • Employee wellbeing and wellness programmes have demonstrated a wide range of positive results with respect to business outcomes, including lower absenteeism, better job performance and higher intention to stay at the employer. These non-financial investments can be more effective in driving employee engagement than pay and benefits.
  • A range of factors impact whether employees feel engaged in their work, including the dynamics of their team and issues such as whether employees feel their age is a barrier. These findings strengthen the case for interventions to support employees right across the lifecourse.

Building the case for mid-life career interventions, ILC also conducted a small number of interviews with employees who had undertaken a Mid-Life MOT at Aviva. Recurring themes from these include:

• A boost in confidence, particularly with respect to financial planning;
• A perception of feeling valued, strengthening a sense of empowerment to work longer;
• Greater reassurance and a reinforced positivity toward the company.

ILC’s research demonstrates that there is evidence linking participation in programmes like the mid-life MOT to business benefits. As these programmes are rolled out further there is an opportunity to deepen the evidence around these links.

An independent ILC report, produced with the support of Aviva, an ILC Partner