working after 50 managing a healthy ageing workforce
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Working after 50: managing a healthy ageing workforce. Matt Flynn Stephen McNair. Written in partnership between HWL, CROW, CIPD Based on discussions with HR practitioners in Edinburgh, Gloucester, London Discusses good age management practice and provides the business case

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Written in partnership between HWL, CROW, CIPD

  • Based on discussions with HR practitioners in Edinburgh, Gloucester, London
  • Discusses good age management practice and provides the business case
  • Focuses on Health & Well-being; Skills and Training; Recruitment; Flexibility; Performance Management
next step
Next step
  • Managing an ageing workforce in small and medium sized enterprises
  • Most older workers work for SME’s
  • SME’s manage big HR issues differently from large ones
  • Big questions
    • Do small businesses see older workers as a resource?
    • How do they resolve age issues at the individual and workforce level?
    • Where do SME’s go for advice and support?
  • Aging population – rising life expectancy and falling fertility – big gap in 40s
  • Government is incentivising working longer
  • Many people would like to work longer and are capable
  • Older people’s participation has continued to rise despite recession
  • Many older workers have caring responsibilities for older relatives, children, grandchildren
  • A significant group of highly qualified older people choose to “downshift” to less stressful roles
  • Employers need to plan to manage and motivate
  • Abolition of DRA means people can only leave voluntarily or by dismissal
why employers need older workers
Why employers need older workers
  • Retain skills and knowledge
  • Tackle skills and labour shortages
  • Mentoring younger workers
  • Two challenges:
    • Make effective use of existing older workers
    • Make better use of the pool of unemployed/ inactive older people
three kinds of older workers
Three kinds of older workers
  • A lot of older people want to work longer
  • With age the older workforce profile changes, as the less motivated drop out
  • There are three groups motivated to continue:
    • A large group who have found a niche which offers high job satisfaction and security
    • A second group are much more anxious, stressed
    • A large group are unemployed/ inactive and would like to work (many with good qualifications and experience)
older workers in general are more likely to report
Older workers in general are more likely to report
  • Workload about right
  • Work-life balance is good
  • Satisfied with their jobs
  • Planning to retire after 65 (or not at all)
  • Trust their managers
  • Are treated with respect
  • Are consulted about change
  • Would recommend their firm to a friend
  • But are pessimistic about the chance of changing job
older workers in general are less likely to report
Older workers in general are less likely to report
  • Excessive pressure
  • Looking for a new job
  • Confidence in finding another job if redundant
  • Worry about the future
  • Being in firms affected by the recession
  • Rising stress and workload
  • Formal performance review
  • Feedback/ recognition of good performance
why older workers choose to work longer
Why older workers choose to work longer
  • Intrinsic – interest of the work, or a “mission”
  • Using skills and knowledge
  • Social and structure to life
  • Money
who are the people motivated o stay
Who are the people motivated o stay?
  • 30% of all workers report (higher for older workers):
    • No excessive pressure (up to twice a month is OK)
    • Good work-life balance
    • Overall satisfied with job
  • They are more likely to report:
    • Management with clear vision and commitment to organisation
    • Confidence in managers
    • They are treated fairly and their work is valued
    • They feel trusted, respected and consulted by managers
    • Support with problems
    • Managers initiate training
  • They are less likely to be considering changing jobs
  • They are likely to want to work much longer
health and wellbeing
Health and Wellbeing
  • Wide variety of health and ability amongst older workers (no uniform pattern)
  • One third of older inactive (not registered unemployed) would like to work/one third of inactive work with a disability
  • Stress highest in mid-career; job insecurity highest at periphery
  • Job insecurity can be as bad for health as job loss
  • Job control, autonomy, manageable workloads associated with good health
skills and training
Skills and Training
  • Skills shortages are widespread, and skills demands are rising, raising demand for some older workers
  • Older workers less likely to have (current/ any) formal qualifications which are valued by employers
  • Older workers are unlikely to consider themselves to have a training need
  • Learning can build on rather than replace experience
  • Older workers have an important role in mentoring and sharing knowledge
  • Age discrimination is unlawful, but very common in recruitment
  • Managers perceive older workers as having unrealistic expectations – in earnings and/or status
  • The chances of returning to work after redundancy over 50 are very low, regardless of qualifications and experience
  • Employers can do more to develop the “talent pipeline”, especially for older people considering changing career direction
  • Recruitment agencies can be part of the solution
flexible working
Flexible working
  • The most frequently requested form of change (after 65 the majority are working part-time)
  • Informal flexible work arrangements more common than formal arrangements (flexitime, part-year, job sharing)
  • Organisational benefits (reputation, flexible firm)
  • Restricts career progression
  • More acceptable to general workforce if universal – not just for “special” groups
performance management
Performance management
  • “Difficult conversations” are difficult (but necessary)
  • Formal and informal performance management both matter
  • Pathway to better working lives
  • Older workers are less likely to receive feedback
  • Relationships, and trust are critical
  • Some younger managers find it difficult with older employees
  • Business case for age diverse practices
  • Employers see the benefit on an individual basis
  • Older workers want extended quality work
  • Employee-manager relationship critical
  • Some workers being left behind
    • Low Skilled or No Skilled
    • Unchallenged or Unmotivated
    • Displaced and Unemployed
thank you
Thank you!
  • Our guide:
  • CIPD/TUC Age Diversity
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