WisR started with an idea, which was to create a platform that pairs elderly people, who still want to work and have a lot of knowledge, with young innovative companies, which need that knowledge. The goal is to re-integrate skilled elderly people into the working environment and enable knowledge and expertise transfer to the next generation.
I interviewed the WisR Co-Founder Klaudia Bachinger because she views her initiative as a community-builder and an inter-generational movement, where people start rethinking the concept of age. People are nowadays living alone in large cities where it’s easy to become anonymous. While people might think that it’s only the elderly who are isolated, there is also an increasing number of young people who feel the same. Her aim is the same as mine: to make the world a less lonely place.
BFY: You are a documentary filmmaker, an editor and since 2017 also a startup-founder. What was the best and the worse employee experience you remember? What is most important for employees in your opinion?
KB: I have been working ever since I was 15 years old, so I have seen quite a lot of different areas and different types of jobs. Some of it as a freelancer or short-term contract, some on a longer engagement (2 years was the longest). I have worked in small film production companies but also in corporates such as BMW. The best experience was definitely at the small film production company where I spent two years. I had almost the same freedom for creativity and self-fulfillment as a freelancer, but a stable income and a team that felt like a family. The worst experience for every employee, no matter the position, is when they feel like they do not matter and they can’t bring in their own ideas. We definitely try to empower everyone to be creative and participate as much as possible in getting a step closer to our vision.
BFY: Why do you focus on retired people in terms of new work?
KB: I’ve seen a huge change in values throughout society. So many people of all ages break free from hierarchical structures, they want to be taken seriously and participate in building a better future. This change in values has a massive impact on our work environment and companies have to face that their employees are looking to combine their passions and private life with their work. What I find really interesting about people in retirement is that they actually have sort of a basic income and can now reinvent themselves. Our ‘Silver Agers’ are discovering new passions, new identities, new possibilities - combined with wisdom and professional experience, that is a super powerful group for these new work environments.
BFY: Are Silver Agers living in the digital world? What do they desire?
KB: If a retiree is not interested in a digital platform, then WisR is just not for them and we accept that. But our early adopters who register on our platform are usually very tech-savvy. They use social media and messaging apps for connecting friends and family, they google to find information and know transportation apps for getting around. The baby-boomers are not so different from millennials in what they desire. They are actually very picky when it comes to work and employer brand of a company; sustainability, quality of products, flexibility, appreciation for skills, purposeful activities, fun, self-fulfillment are just as important to them as they are to younger talents.
BFY: Are companies open for older employees?
KB: That varies a lot and depends on the management and the Head of HR (the internal factor) but also on the need of labor force (the external factor). For examples companies in retail have discovered older employees a long time ago, because they are good in sales, and also other customer-oriented positions. Startups and young entrepreneurs are interested in the know-how and appreciate punctuality, authenticity and reliability of elderly - especially for positions like back-office, admin, controlling or B2B sales. All in all, it is still a topic that we have to communicate and emphasize a lot and raise awareness among decision makers but time is working in our favor.
BFY: I assume you spend lots of time with recruiters, job seekers, HR-departments, marketers and branding people. What’s the biggest pitfall you see in recruitment marketing nowadays?
KB: Oh yes. What I can see is that so many companies still haven’t understood that it is not the applicants who sell themselves. It is the employer who has to sell himself to the applicants. My advice for decision-makers and leadership teams is: create a mindful and lovable company culture, open up to a bigger talent pool, create flexible contracts and work environments, and most importantly answer every application within two weeks.
BFY: What employer brands inspire you?
KB: I think Erste Bank has a great employer brand and it launched an amazing brand storytelling campaign a couple of weeks ago which I really loved. Many tech companies have a great brand as well, e.g. Medium or SAP. The website keyvalues.com is an amazing website to look at tech companies and their company culture. In the industry sector, BOSCH is doing a great job - their facebook career site for students is great, they have really interesting initiatives for women, seniors, and kids, and really lovable storytelling.
BFY: Looking to the future: How will the job market develop from your perspective?
KB: Cooperative instead of competitive. Diverse and flexible.
BFY: What is your personal desire and aim regarding hiring?
KB: If I could afford it, I would only hire people who can find their life purpose and self-fulfillment in our company. Due to very limited resources that’s not possible yet.
Are you an employer? Then you have an employer brand whether you try to shape it or not. It is the company's identity and, according to William Tincup, its “unique scent.” It's everything that makes you stand out.
As the digital age develops, talent attraction becomes not only more difficult, but also more important. Nowadays HR departments are under pressure to navigate among new generations and techniques and they need to focus in order to grab the attention of talent.
BridgeForYou is a place where people can be connected. We take care of employer branding because we take care of people. We have started an interview series in order to inspire practitioners in this field, to build a community and to forge relationships between employees and employers. Please share your opinion and feedback with us and let’s talk!