Action points from Skills to Manage Retirement Issues

March 28th, 2012

Around  20 HR and Business leaders attended my first Alison Love Limited seminar to discuss and  explore how to effectively manage issues that could arise in managing retirements without a retirement age and an aging population.

As outlined in my earlier blog (http://blog.alisonlove.co.uk/2012/02/02/adult-conversations-or-better-performance-management-without-a-compulsory-retirement-age/) there are a number of issues that might arise and which have the potential to cause conflict. The group discussed what action employers might need to take to proactively manage such issues. These included:-

  • Talent Management and Succession Planning. From about 2025 and beyond the number of over 65’s will exceed the under 25’s. As the Baby boomers start to retire in significant numbers there will be a loss of experience, talent and knowledge with insufficient numbers of younger workers to replace those retiring. This could lead to recruitment and retention difficulties. Employers would do well to start thinking about these issues sooner rather than later so that vital skills and knowledge are not lost.
  • Age Positive. There seems to be a misconception that the age discrimination legislation prevents employees from adopting age positive policies.This is not the case and employers should think about how to retain older workers by utilising their skills  and experience in new and different ways. One delegate related an example of the hugely positive benefits (to both the individual and the business) of an older worker having the opportunity to take on a new and different project.
  • Promote flexible working. Evidence suggests that older workers are largely unaware that flexible working options might apply to them and employers could therefore do more to bring these to the attention of all.
  • Performance Management. All the guidance suggests that employers should use the annual performance appraisal as an opportunity to ask all employees about their short-term, medium term and long-term goals. in addition performance objectives should be clear, objectively measured and applied to all employees equally regardless of age. In the event of the objectives not being met in some way then alternatives should be considered where this is possible.
  • Line management. The role of the line manager will be key in managing these issues. If there is a good relationship and a high level of trust conversations will be open, honest and transparent. Guidance should be given to line managers of the alternatives and options available. Also line managers should have the skills to establish and maintain good working relationships and to confidently handle to what might be a difficult conversation.
  • Training and PDP. Surveys suggest that older workers are often “neglected” when it comes to training and performance management. This clearly needs to change to avoid potential discrimination issues. Career management needs to become a life issue and not something that applies to employees until they reach their 50’s.
  • Involve trade unions. Where this is relevant ensure trade unions are involved in developing relevant policies and procedures.

As with any new discrimination, much is about managing a process of change which will include changes to policies and working practices as well as a change in all our mindsets.  For more information about in-house training courses available  on Conflict Management or Managing Difficult Conversations please contact me on 07808 829545 or visit www.alisonlove.co.uk

Finally, my thanks to all those who attended and for your contributions. Mug shots below!

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