Creating an age management strategy

by 18 Sep 2007

Q. I’m in the process of creating an age management strategy for my organisation. What are the main factors that would encourage people to work beyond their planned retirement?

A. Begin by conducting a survey to engage those intending to retire – you might select all employees over 45. Ensure that your survey questions and survey provider can create a profile of intentions to retire over the next 10–20 years and that the message you send is that you are interested in including this group of employees in the design of future work options. The following three factors are most likely to encourage people to work beyond their planned retirement:

1. Flexible work options introducing part-time and flexible work hours. HR policies will need to be reviewed and modified where necessary to include, for example, inclusion of voluntary change to lower classification level and/or duties; changes to flexitime to allow spread of hours worked in the day.

You may want to consider the design and implementation of an online toolkit and career planning programs for late-career employees. Workshops for managers and supervisors including successful case studies of flexible work practice will help to ensure that your initiatives are well supported in the business.

2. Passing on skills and knowledge. Develop a formalised mentor program to encourage the exchange of knowledge and skills. Use job rotations and project teams as opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and skills building. You might capitalise on this talent management process by identifying key knowledge holders nearing retirement age and encourage them to mentor younger employees.

Draw on older employees as content experts for the development of content and/or delivery of training/development programs, increasing the use of technology as a means of supporting the capture and sharing of knowledge. Knowledge sharing can also be encouraged through the utilisation of mixed-age project teams.

3. Taking on new projects/responsibilities. Encourage employees to take responsibility for managing their career by making available information, resources to aid career planning and decision-making and assist employees to understand how to navigate their career in your organisation. Increase the number of opportunities for employees to gain experience in different roles in different parts of the business and provide greater visibility of these opportunities through internal job markets and job systems. Consider supporting opportunities for your staff to gain experience in other companies through external secondments.

By Larry Marlow, Marlow Hampshire. Phone: (02) 9810 9000 Email: mh@marlowhampshire.com.au. Web: www.marlowhampshire.com.au