Age does not discourage experts and age management helps you cope longer
Age management as part of the strategy will help improve productivity and well-being at work and increase the transfer of tacit knowledge. The career model and age management are ways to take into account the needs of older workers and enable later retirement.
In the development project implemented as a Thesis at the Turku University of Applied Sciences’ Master School, the management of the design and consulting company Elomatic’s occupational well-being and the opportunities and challenges of age management were examined through thematic interviews. Based on the interviews, a career model was created as a tool for age management. The model emphasized the importance of the employee’s own resources as part of maintaining work capacity.
An older employee is a valuable top expert
The most important tool in expert work is the brain. Thinking, different projects, and changing tasks provide challenging work for employees of all ages. Based on the interviews conducted in the development project, equal treatment was seen as more important than taking age into account. The active provision of training regardless of age, equal opportunities for various project tasks and the appreciation of the employee’s skills contributed to the well-being of older workers and the extension of their careers. Flexible hourly contracts with retirees made it possible to maintain tacit knowledge and excellence in the organization.
Stress challenges well-being at work
Deadlines related to expert work, overlapping projects and constantly evolving technology increase work-related stress, which was felt to have a greater impact on the well-being at work of older workers. The individual has a responsibility for their own well-being, the maintenance of which can be supported by the employer. More tools were needed in the interviews to maintain mental well-being. This need was met in the output of the development project by emphasizing the employee’s own resource-related practices in maintaining work capacity and treating mental well-being separately from physical well-being.
Workflow model practices for employees and supervisors
The workforce model collected age-related practices regarding employee resources, leadership, the work environment, and the work community based on employee-oriented interviews in the development project. Habits ranged from larger organizational policies to small individual actions. For example, the introduction of a master-competitor model for the transmission of tacit knowledge or the use of stairs in the office instead of an elevator were age management practices in the workforce model. The model was intended to give both the employee and the supervisor the information they needed at a glance.
Gathering the practices of an employer that invests in a wide range of well-being at work created a model in which suitable means can be found for all employees, depending on their own activity. The model can be used to target age-appropriate policies to improve well-being at work and maintain work capacity without emphasizing age.
Elomatic is an international consulting and design company. It offers a variety of design and expert services in many different industries. The company employs about 850 people in Finland and has an average age of 44 years. Elomatic is also involved in the Good, better, productive! -project.
Authors: Sini Haavisto, Minna Salakari and Eeva Pentikäinen
The text is based on expertise in age management: developing a career model as a tool for age management for the Elomatic development project. (url here!!)
This blog post was first published on 23/04/2020 in the Hyvä, parempi, tuottava! -project.
Originally posted on the 6th of May, 2021