I am sure you have all heard about the issue regarding the ageing population and its impact on the economy and the future generation’s working lives (smaller pensions and later retirement ages). Many organisations can find that employing older people is a burden on their company’s finances and workloads due to increased illness, however enlightened companies are engaging in this issue and are coming up with ways of benefitting from an increasing number of ageing employees.
There are obviously are complications with the ageing population, (including chronic illness and physical manual labour restrictions), there is also an acknowledgement that older people are usually more highly experienced, understand specific company know-how’s, have accomplished and well thought out decision making abilities and quality awareness, are very disciplined, reliable and loyal.
Because of the skills the company would gain from keeping on older employees, BMW aims to make the best of their ageing staff by taking drastic measures to prevent their health and wellbeing from declining. They have set ways of achieving this by having an individual health plan for all of their employees. Each employee will have individual targets to be achieved in terms of fitness and health. This is set to be bought about through physiotherapy (paying more attention and focus onto individual weak points), diet (realising that diet has a detrimental impact on health which can determine how much time an employee takes off as absence from work) , and also mental fitness (which could be influenced positively by counselling).
As an example BMW have already opened a new plant in southern Bavaria, costing 18 million pounds, which has been specifically designed to suit the needs of older employees; from the chairs with ergonomic back supports to mobile tool-trolleys and machinery, not to mention the specialised gyms, everything has been thought of. As well as these changes, the BMW group also encourage employees to be more flexible with working hours in the hope that this will reduce the impact of changing from late to early shifts, Monday morning lie-ins; sounds alright to me!
Recently surveys in the UK found that only 14% of managers believe they are well equipped to cope with an ageing workforce, this is shocking considering in 2020 a third of the UK’s workforce will be over 50. If you are one of these managers maybe you should start considering the prospect of a workforce whose average age is over 50.