The Case for Retaining Senior Workers
On February 28, AmCham’s HR Committee gathered at Lundgrens Law Firm, for the final installment ‘The Employee Lifecycle’ series entitled “Work Life Extension,” which focused on the later years of a career, including working beyond the current retirement age.
The Ministry of Employment‘s Lasse Bank set the scene with a presentation on “The Future’s Aging Workforce”. Lasse is Head of Division at the Ministry, and has been working with the governments ‘Senior Think Tank’ on this issue. An increasing life expectancy and fewer young people entering the labor market means that we are in need of retaining seniors to maintain the welfare state and remain productive. The current government is working on pension reforms and other recommendations to push the agenda forward.
But of course, this is not only a government agenda. Companies must also be part of the solution by reframing their HR strategies, and rid themselves of unconscious bias, to retain their mature workers as long as they are interested and able. Utilizing a panel of executives, speakers shared their ideas about what their organizations are doing to bring forward the benefits of older employees – as well as the realistic challenges that they face internally with this agenda.
There was some discussion on the ‘business case’ for retaining seniors. Some studies suggest that workers age 50+ are in fact more productive, engaged and satisfied at work, with fewer days of sick leave than their younger counterparts. For example, when BMW realized how many workers with job protection at one German plant were aging, the automaker retooled its production facility to accommodate older workers, installing ergonomic seating and softer floors, enlarging the type on the computers, and supplying more supportive work boots. Productivity rose, and absenteeism plummeted. (Please refer to links to the right on this page for more information.)
An excellent panel discussion was moderated by Anders Bildsøe Lassen, Senior Consultant, Implement Consulting Group.
Stine Fehmerling, Sr. Mgr. Global Inclusion & Diversity / Leadership Development, Coloplast
Jørgen Andersen, Vice President, Corporate HR, Ambu
Anna Bengaard Gantriis, Head of Corporate HR, Danish Foreign Ministry
Mette B. Hansen, Senior HR Business Partner, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund
Kim Møller Laursen, Head of Analysis, Lederne