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Saturday, February 20, 2016

HR has not even begun to plan for an ageing workforce

Ask a 50 year old about getting re-employed and you are like to hear a lengthy discourse on how it is near impossible. At the same time you will read articles claiming that we can expect to work until we are 70 maybe 80. There is one hell of a disconnect between the reality and the theory.

The UK's institute for HR found that only 20% of its members had some kind of age strategy agreed at board level or were developing a business case for such a strategy. Most organisations still deal with the issue in reactive way rather than planning for future demographics and potential skills shortages.

'Are corporations prepared for an ageing workforce? Absolutely not.' . So says a professor of management practice at London Business School. Whenever you ask a group of HR people to name a company that 'gets it' about ageing they always say BMW. I wrote about what this company is doing back in 2011. Ask for a second company and you might get the name of a retailer that recruits older people. That's about it, don't expect any other names.

This article provides some good insights into the subject.

What's even more disturbing is that when you find somebody that has thought about the issue they will be fixated with things like 'intergenerational working', changing terms of employment and pensions.

In a mirror of what happens in marketing, there is a failure to see that the starting point is understanding the effects of ageing on their workforce and what that means to the work environment they require.

Kim Walker and I have been looking to work with an expert that understands these issues. So far we have failed to identify anybody. Surely, somebody in the massive world of HR, must be thinking about physiological ageing and its impact on employees. Maybe not. Dick Stroud

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