Written by Philip Taylor PhD
The ageing workforce will create major challenges for Australian employers. Forecast labour shortages will see competition for skilled labour increase greatly. Success will depend upon being able to attract and retain skilled older workers. There is a need for practical, every day, guidance for managers in tackling workforce ageing issues.
In order to develop a strategic approach to retaining older workers and to establish an age neutral organisational culture there is a need to focus on three aspects of organisations. These are represented as an age management framework. The framework is portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with workforce culture at the top, leadership in the middle and individual development at the bottom. In the framework all of the elements are interconnected.
An organisation’s workforce culture is thought to influence its climate, which in turn impacts employee motivation, performance, and well-being. In the middle of the pyramid, support from both top managers and mid-level managers is critical for older workers, as policies such as offering flexible work or enhancing age diversity workforce require managers to allocate both time and resources to implement. At the bottom level, individual development covers learning, job design, reward and recognition, health and well-being, and financial and career planning.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that makes sense. However, managers and employers can use this framework as general guidance to ensure talented older workers are well retained in the organisations, and potential new employees are recruited based on their skills and experiences rather than age.