Aviva’s Mid-Life MOT – retaining talent by helping older workers make plans for their futures

Aviva pioneered the use of Mid-Life MOTs with their employees. Although the impact on retention is still to be fully quantified, they have seen positive outcomes and Aviva are confident that supporting employees in mid-life will empower people to stay at work and continue to progress, building a more productive workforce and benefitting the bottom line.

Insurance and pensions giant Aviva has a staff of 16,000, including 5,000 people aged 45 to 60. Retaining and developing the skills and talent of this older workforce is very important to Aviva and they have a strong track record for taking action on age. Andy Briggs, their Chief Executive of UK Insurance, is Chair of the BITC Age Leadership Team and Government Business Champion for Older Workers.

Piloting the Mid-Life MOT
In 2018, Aviva were one of a small group of pioneer companies who piloted the mid-life MOT in a project with the Centre for Ageing Better. A mid-life MOT is a staff review and development programme which allows people in mid-life to make a holistic review of their work, their health and well-being, and their future finances and pensions. Endorsed by the government, the mid-life MOT is being actively developed by BITC and its Leadership Team and partner businesses.
What Aviva did
Following analysis of company data, Aviva invited 100 of their Norwich-based staff aged 45 to 60 to take part in the mid-life MOT pilot. The programme covered three elements – work, wealth and well-being. Participants took part in a range of group and individual sessions led by Aviva experts and external specialists. There were opportunities to share with peers and learn from staff champions. Participation was entirely voluntary but interest was high, with a notably high take-up rate of 94%.
In the programme, group discussions with 20 to 30 people were led by a National Careers Service adviser, an Aviva financial adviser and Aviva ‘Health Heroes’. These were scheduled either as 3 separate 60 to 90 minute sessions or a half-day covering all three topic areas. As follow-up, participants were offered one to ones on any of the topics, plus access to an online learning and an assessment platform.
Sessions adopted an adult-to-adult learning style, offering information which participants could take forward as they chose. Rather than the expected preparation for retirement, the mid-life MOT was labelled an ‘anti-retirement’ programme, sign-posting effective ways to extend working lives.
Business benefits of the programme
Aviva’s engagement scores showed the positive impact of the programme. After running the mid-life MOT pilot, there was a 10% increase in confidence, a 10% increase in knowledge of where to go for support, and a 10% increase in positive feeling towards Aviva as an employer.
The impact on retention is still to be fully quantified. Aviva is by far the biggest insurance employer in Norwich which will affect outcomes. Impact will be better assessed when the programme is rolled out in further locations.
Aviva are confident that supporting employees in mid-life will empower people to stay at work and continue to progress, building a more productive workforce and so benefitting the bottom line.
What Aviva plan to do next
The mid-life MOT programme will be scaled up and offered it to all staff aged 45 to 60, some 5,000 people in total. Aviva hope this will send a clear message within and beyond the company that career development doesn’t finish at 50. They also plan to work with government and like-minded employers to develop thinking on how to scale up delivery of similar support to more employees in mid-life.
Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva commented: “The employee demand for greater help in mid-life is strong and growing. The employer need to invest in this population is overwhelming. In short, we don’t have enough workers to help the UK thrive on the global stage. Yet, we currently waste a huge amount of talent, experience and potential as people progress through their 50s. We can no longer justify this collapse in participation. Aviva is investing in mid-life MOTs for all its people aged 45 and over. They are a win for our people and a win for Aviva. If more follow Aviva’s lead, mid-life MOTs can be a win for UK plc too. Age must be no barrier to opportunity.”