Age management: generations working together

Demographic statistics predicting a quickly aging society, recent changes in the Polish regulations on retirement age as well as the tendency among the 50+ to live longer while remaining in good health and keeping the ability to work all lead us to believe that managing the 50+ employee population will grow in importance in the coming years. Yet interviews with managers show that the majority of them do not realize these changes, and are seldom aware of the demographics of their own company, and even less so understand its implications for human resources management in the coming 5-10 years. Meanwhile, statistical data and ensuing projections clearly show that we will be witnessing a systematic increase of the number of older employees while the influx of young recruits will be diminishing.

The above is accompanied by collaboration difficulties between employees of generations above 35 and the so called Y (or Millenial) generation. This can have a tangible and negative impact on company performance, both internally, i.e. concerning relationships between employee groups and/or between employees and their supervisors, and externally, i.e. in customer relations.  Furthermore, one can expect growing problems in the labor market with regard to recruiting young employees meeting the employer’s expectations, as well as in the area of successful knowledge transfer from seasoned experts to employees at the beginning of their career path. Many companies facing these difficulties might find satisfactory solutions through efficiently managing their 50+ employee population – which to a great extent is the carrier of experience and specialized know-how -, and even through reaching to their retired employee resources. Significantly, interviews carried out with mid-level managers in companies indicate  that employers often lack policies regulating the phasing out of retiring employees or keeping in touch afterwards. This  negatively impacts the engagement of older employees, and at the same time deprives the company of valuable resources, which can be of great use i.a. when replacements are needed or sudden workload increases occur – employers have then recourse to temp agencies and get young inexperienced workers without any knowledge of the company and without any bonds with the latter.

To support employers in facing those challenges, we offer:

  • a demographic analysis of the company and preparing a projection for the coming years
  • a diagnosis of the generations mix and the current engagement level of the 50+ population as well as of its potential value to the company
  • the development of an action plan tailored to the individual situation of the company, its strategy and its customers’ characteristics, as well as adequate tools necessary for implementing the plan
  • the possibility of training a group of managers and/or trainers to ensure that the action plan is smoothly implemented in the coming years with the company’s own resources

Publications on age management:

  • “Managing 50+ employees a new challenge for companies”, Personel i Zarządzanie 6/2014
  • “Age management program at Henkel Poland. A case study”, Conference “Lato HR”, Warsaw, July 2014
  • “I’m leaving. I’m taking with me my knowledge and experience” Harvard Business Review Poland 9/2014
  • "Different generations, one organization" (in Polish) Warsaw 2015: SW Mentoring, ISBN 978-83-942929-0-4)