Archive for June, 2010
We love this quote from the write up of Jeffrey Smart’s (aged 89) latest exhibition.
Life, happiness and activity, as Aristotle suggests, are all the same thing. There is a higher experience of transcendent joy, but happiness in general consists in being active; that is, exercising agency and initiative, fulfilling our vocation, acquiring and practising skills, enjoying the freedom to think and to make.
This is why retirement is so dangerous. People imagine they want more leisure, but they confuse leisure with idleness. The former is a state of freedom from material necessity that should allow one to pursue activities of intrinsic interest; but idleness is a lack of activity, and even the dull routines of work are more energising than having nothing to do.
Rethink retirement. If not a dangerous concept, it is at best outdated.
Ageing workforce specialists SageCo recently asked more than 300 mature employees, “What would influence your decision to work longer?” More than 60 percent said that the opportunity to work the same role but on a more flexible basis would be a reason to stay. In the same vein, over half said that working in a similar role but with reduced hours and less responsibility would see them working beyond the traditional retirement date.
“The trick to the age management puzzle is slowing the rate of retirement” says SageCo MD, Alison Monroe. “Use your workforce planning data to determine the risk of not only how many you are losing, but also who you are losing.”
Extending the working life of our baby boomer generation is a key strategy for ensuring a future workforce. By 2016 we have more people leaving the workforce than entering it; something has to shift. But how?
The results of this survey suggest that managers and HR professionals need to build a high level of competency in redesigning roles, applying flexible work arrangements and dealing with the more granular tasks of remuneration and superannuation.
While flexible work opportunities were the clear winner here, respondents showed strong support for an organisation’s alumni program to provide contracting opportunities and the means to contribute knowledge to special projects.
“SageCo sees a strong argument for the reinvention of the alumni model.” says Catriona Byrne, SageCo Director and Product Development Lead. “Up till now, most alumni programs simply provide a means for past employees to keep in touch annually.
We are having early discussions with a few progressive organisations who have tapped into the opportunity of using their alumni program as a way to resource the future. The new alumni model is a living, breathing knowledge database and a talent pool of experienced, contingent employees who can hit the ground running.”
None of these interventions will make a difference unless organisations have a baseline of good people management. However, it is clear that new practices must be put in place to influence retiring employees.
“The results also indicate that organisations need to actively support late career employees in their decisions about work and retirement.” suggests Alison Monroe “The mindset shift required by employees and employers alike won’t happen left to chance.”
Phil Ruthven has a refreshingly different viewpoint on intergenerational challenges. We particularly liked these comments:
At 65 years of age :
- in 1800, you were dead 27 years ago
- in 1900, you were dead 12 years ago
- in 2000, you had 12 – 15 years to go
- in 2100, you may be two-thirds through your life
We need to be very careful about what an ‘ageing society’ or the ‘greying of Australia’ really means
Even at 70 years of age many will still be working, probably part-time and will be fit and healthy.
We agree; we need to raise the age definition of ‘old’. We also need to challenge the traditional assumption of retirement.
Yes – we will have a growing porportion of older workers – most only too happy to do different and mostly part-time work beyond 65 years of age.
Employers need to build capability in role redesign and incorporating flexible work practices into their modus operandi.
SageCo’s key questions::
- How clear is your pathway for mature workers in your organisation?
- How are you supporting your employees in preparing for work and life in late career?
- How many roles incorporate flexibility?