Studies have revealed that the number of workers above the age of 55 has increased sharply (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2012). This change is believed to pose a major challenge to different companies as they struggle to focus on their business goals. This predicament is associated with physical inactivity, disability and reduced concentration level. Performance management of the ageing workforce is an area that has gained much attention in the recent past. This discussion presents a critical review of academic literature on the field.
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Performance Management of the Ageing Workforce from a Strategic Level
Many scholars have been focusing on performance management in young employees. However, Ciutiene and Railaite (2014) believe that performance management should be considered in an attempt to support every worker. This strategy presents adequate information and resources to meet the needs of more employees and eventually drive performance. Within the past decade, organisational theorists have explored how performance management can be applied to the ageing population to maximise productivity. Barnes, Smeaton and Taylor (2009) indicate that leaders should be sensitive to the changing needs of older employees. This practice is essential since elderly citizens encounter various psychological health concerns.
Modern leaders have identified various approaches to support this workforce. For instance, managers use their competencies to understand the unique needs of the workers. The acquired knowledge in then used to motivate these employees (Ciutiene & Railaite 2014). The ageing workforce can be introduced to different technologies such as computers in order to work efficiently.
Ciutiene and Railaite (2014) acknowledge that the older people face numerous various health problems. Communication techniques and responsibilities can be adjusted in accordance with their expectations. This approach will ensure the individuals are able to perform optimally. Monitoring is a powerful practice that is executed to identified various obstacles and opportunities associated with an employee’s activity (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2012). Leaders in firms characterised by elderly workers should act immediately. This practice can guide them to identify and address emerging issues and implement adequate mechanisms to support these individuals.
Areas that can be improved should be supported using the right skills and resources. Timely assessments and constant communication will result in new improvements. Sources of performance concerns must be communicated to the leader in a timely manner. This understanding will ensure emerging issues are uncovered and mitigated instantly. Informal discussions will ensure more elderly employees are willing to point the obstacles facing them (Lytle, Foley & Cotter 2015). This information will result in better work designs to help the workers complete their roles efficiently (A guide to managing an aging workforce 2006). Mercedes Benz applies similar initiatives to empower and guide its elderly workers. The approach has made it possible for these employees to pass across their expertise to their juniors. This process has led to smooth transition at the company.
Ciutiene and Railaite (2014) believe that performance management in this age can be realised through continuous retention and recruitment. Firms can implement health-related mechanisms to prevent medical problems, create flexible working polices or policies and promote teamwork. Discrimination against these persons should be discouraged since they can affect productivity.
Performance management is incomplete without considering the importance of rewards and sanctions. Training has emerged as one of the best evidence-based approaches capable of supporting members of this workforce. Provision of rewards such as remunerations is supported by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Lytle, Foley & Cotter 2015). According to the model, employees whose needs are met will be ready to deliver meaningful results. Ageing workforces can be supported use medical covers, emergency care and flexible working environments.
Individuals who are unable to comply with the implemented changes can be guided to focus on the targeted goals. Firms can consider alternative employment prospects for different workers depending on the emerging issues. Retirement can be considered when the targeted workers are unable to pursue various roles (Ciutiene & Railaite 2014). Some companies have devised new approaches to support their ageing workforce. For instance, some have come up with contractual agreements to ensure competent elderly workers can deliver desirable services.
Early retirement can be considered depending on the individual’s responsiveness. These initiatives should be managed using appropriate communication. The approach will ensure emerging challenges and obstacles are tackled immediately (Barnes, Smeaton & Taylor 2009). Ergonomics is an area that is being taken seriously to support the needs of the ageing population.
Theoretical Approaches and Models
From a strategic management level, performance management is a continuum whereby the changing expectations of different workers are monitored and addressed. Organisational leaders embrace the power of strategic management to formulate specific actions plans to mentor, guide, empower and motivate their workers (Ciutiene & Railaite 2014). Managers identify the right resources to support performance. Strategic management is a concept that has been applied successfully in different firms to support the effectiveness of the ageing workforce.
In order to promote most of these performance management initiatives, several theories can be embraced by organizational leaders. For example, the career construction theory has been supported by many scholars because of its potential to empower many aging employees. The model treats career development as a lifelong process that should be informed by different attributes such as retirement decisions and hobbies. The theory encourages companies to mentor and support their elderly workers. The needs of such persons should be addressed in accordance with their cultural, economic and societal attributes. The theory supports the concept of change whereby challenges are minimised to ensure a given employee fits in a new working environment (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2011). This concept is applicable in the management and empowerment of aging workers.
The theory of work-adjustment asserts that career decisions should be guided by the environment and personal expectations. Individuals should be guided to liaise with their employers to deliver desirable workplace adjustments. Employers can use reinforcers such as promotions and recognition to satisfy the needs of these elderly workers. Delaying retirement, phasing out different functions or roles and redesigning the working environment are appropriate strategies that echo the attributes of the work-adjustment models (Ciutiene & Railaite 2014).
Different companies such as Southwest Airlines have been implementing powerful initiatives to support the welfare and performance of older workers. This organisation achieves such objectives by identifying of new roles, empowerment and constant communication (Lytle, Foley & Cotter 2015). Although Google employs young and energetic employee, thirteen percentage of its workforce is aged 50 years and above. These elderly workers are equipped with adequate resources, guidelines and support to realise their potential.
Corporations should consider these performance management techniques to maintain and attract older employees. Elderly professionals possess exemplary skills that can be tapped by firms through the use of efficient work designs, empowerment, provision of resources and rewards (Lytle, Foley & Cotter 2015). Contractual relationships can be embraced to reduce the health and physical obstacles affecting elderly workers. Voluntary incentives should be taken seriously to ensure employees work until they retire willingly.
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A guide to managing an aging workforce 2006, Government of Alberta Press, Edmonton, Canada.
Barnes, H, Smeaton, D & Taylor, R 2009, An ageing workforce: the employer’s perspective, Institute for Employment Studies, Brighton, UK.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2011, Employee outlook, London, UK.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2012, A guide for employers, London, UK.
Ciutiene, R & Railaite, R 2014, ‘Challenges of managing an ageing workforce’, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 156, no. 1, pp. 68-73.
Lytle, MC, Foley, PF & Cotter, EW 2015, ‘Career and retirement theories: relevance for older workers across cultures’, Journal of Career Development, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 185-198.