Posts Tagged knowledge
The past 2 days have been well spent Chairing the Tonkin ageing workforce conference in Sydney. The forum attracted a diverse range of delegates from industries such as health and aged care, Federal and Local Government, insurance, FMCG and utilities, demonstrating how far reaching the ageing workforce issue has become.Whilst the challenges and specific priority areas for each organisation differed, on one front they were united.
Doing nothing is not an option!
A range of great speakers across the 2 days shared the steps that they have boldly taken to engage and retain their mature workforce.
Some pearls from Kate McCormack, Executive Director, People Learning & Culture at Mercy Health included;
We are training our managers that the default answer when it comes to flexible work requests is YES. They have to then find a very good reason why not, if there is one!
Juliet Andrews People and Organisation, Ernst & Young provided an overview of the robust Work Ability model, derived from The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and currently being adapted for the Australian workplace. The essence of Work Ability is this – a holistic and self managed approach to wellbeing at work proactively manages productivity, health and safety, culture and engagement, and costs related to absenteeism and claims. Whilst the framework is applicable across ‘all ages all stages’, productivity gains amongst mature workers are evident.
Delegates enjoyed the journey of ‘The Fox’ – a presentation by Michelle Joy, OD Manager with Linfox. A creative and age neutral approach to learning for all employees across the organisation, regardless of role or location gave us all some food for thought.
Rowan Arndt, NAB’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, opted for a highly interactive discussion with participants, sharing the critical success factors and learnings behind NAB’s award winning MyFuture program. These included;
- developing a sound business case upfront
- engaging executive champions and people leaders
- measuring results which to date includes 27% of mature employees who have participated in MyFuture subsequently moving to a flexible work arrangement (with those working flexibly found to be 30% more engaged) and people leaders putting practical knowledge sharing initiatives in place. NAB has also shifted the average retirement age out from 57 in 2009 to 60 in 2012 – a remarkable achievement over a relatively short timeframe
The MyFuture program forms one part of NAB’s overall diversity strategy which is underpinned by the saying;
I see you for you
IAG’s CEO Mike Wilkins is mentioned in our previous blog post, having resided on the executive panel at last week’s Older Workers and Business Growth forum convened by The Hon. Susan Ryan, Age Discrimination Commissioner. IAG’s Group GM of People & Culture, Steve Rowe, reiterated some of Mike’s passion and key messages regarding engaging and retaining mature talent and cited the importance of not losing critical knowledge and experience when a key person retires. Steve’s focus going forward is on ensuring IAG is a place where ‘diversity of thought’ is embraced and encouraged.
We were even fortunate to hear from a real life ‘sage’ – the wonderful Peter Gillman, a 40-year engineer with Sydney Water. Peter has spent the past few years as a champion of the organisation’s knowledge transfer project,which focusses on their ‘technically influential group’. Peter shared the steps taken as these;
- find out who wants to know what
- identify what is tacit and what is explicit
- make the knowledge easily accessible
- keep the knowledge accurate and current
- have a community of practice working on it so that ‘all the eggs are not in one basket’
- measure the value of the knowledge
- connect the project with other internal initiative
We loved this quote from Peter;
I know more than I can tell; I can tell more than I can write”
We are all responsible for creating the future workforce that we ourselves will move into. How do we want it to look when we get there? As summarised by Rowan, this means creating a workplace where “people feel safe and respected for who they are. They can pursue a career with us as long as they can make a contribution no matter where that might be. NAB will be a magnet employer”.
Each delegate went away armed with ideas and practical actions to implement within their own organisation.
A small step can indeed create a giant leap, in the words of the great, late Neil Armstrong.
Tony Schwartz is the President and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything. We love Tony on Twitter (Twitter.com/TonySchwartz) and most recently enjoyed his Harvard Business Review Blog “Turning 60: The Twelve Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned So Far”. Here are Tony’s musings ~ we will all be there one day…!
1. The more we know about ourselves, the more power we have to behave better. Humility is underrated. We each have an infinite capacity for self-deception — countless unconscious ways we protect ourselves from pain, uncertainty, and responsibility — often at the expense of others and of ourselves. Endless introspection can turn into self-indulgence, but deepening self-awareness is essential to freeing ourselves from our reactive, habitual behaviors.
2. Notice the good. We each carry an evolutionary predisposition to dwell on what’s wrong in our lives. The antidote is to deliberately take time out each day to notice what’s going right, and to feel grateful for what you’ve got. It’s probably a lot.
3. Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.
4. Never seek your value at the expense of someone else’s. When we’re feeling devalued, our reactive instinct is to do anything to restore what we’ve lost. Devaluing the person who made you feel bad will only prompt more of the same in return.
5. Do the most important thing first in the morning and you’ll never have an unproductive day. Most of us have the highest energy early in the day, and the fewest distractions. By focusing for a designated period of time, without interruption, on the highest value task for no more than 90 minutes, it’s possible to get an extraordinary amount of work accomplished in a short time.
6. It’s possible to be excellent at anything, but nothing valuable comes easy and discomfort is part of growth. Getting better at something depends far less on inborn talent than it does the willingness to practice the activity over and over, and to seek out regular feedback, the more precise the better.
7. The more behaviors you intentionally make automatic in your life, the more you’ll get done. If you have to think about doing something each time you do it, you probably won’t do it for very long. The trick is to get more things done using less energy and conscious self-control. How often do you forget to brush your teeth?
8. Slow down. Speed is the enemy of nearly everything in life that really matters. It’s addictive and it undermines quality, compassion, depth, creativity, appreciation and real relationship.
9. The feeling of having enough is magical. It rarely depends on how much you’ve got. More is rarely better. Too much of anything eventually becomes toxic.
10. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, and don’t expect anything in return. Your values are one of the only possessions you have that no one can take away from you. Doing the right thing may not always get you what you think you want in the moment, but it will almost always leave you feeling better about yourself in the long run. When in doubt, default to calm and kind.
11. Add more value in the world than you’re using up. We spend down the earth’s resources every day. Life’s primary challenge is to put more back into the world than we take out.
12. Savor every moment — even the difficult ones. It all goes so fast.
So many of Tony’s points strongly resonate. In particular No.9. Having just returned from a 7 day fundraising trek (for Good Beginnings Australia) through the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam, followed by a volunteering stint at the Children of Vietnam orphanage in Da Nang, it has awarded me a fresh perspective and renewed clarity on ‘whats most important’. I perhaps should also turn my attention to No.8!
Which of the 12 do you identify with?
Read Tony’s blog post here.
The Australian Human Resources Institute have just released a their pulse survey findings about mature age workforce participation. It’s a neat snapshot of the sentiments of 1212 AHRI members. No surprises, but it confirms Sageco’s findings over the last seven years.
Here are some of the key points with our ideas for solutions:
- Just under half the respondents said the departure of older workers from their workplace has caused a loss of key knowledge or skills.
- Approximately 20% report that the departure of older workers has caused the organisation to be less competitive.
- More than 80% would like to see steps taken to retain older workers.
(Sageco’s Exchange program provides a strong framework for transferring knowledge between workforce generations and developing older workers as knowledge coaches. It distils the critical knowledge requirements, bolsters natural knowledge sharing and enables the intentional transfer of knowledge before older workers choose to retire. In fact, older workers may choose to continue working albeit differently – with a key component of their role as a knowledge coach.)
- Over two thirds or respondents believe the retention of older workers would benefit productivity.
- More than 75% see retaining older workers as a necessary precaution against the sudden loss of essential knowledge and skills.
(Sageco’s Envisage program is a visible, tangible way to support mature workers making work and retirement decisions. If you seriously want to retain mature workers, you need to support them as they plan for their career, their finances, health and relationships. Help them answer the question, “If not retirement, then what else?” Help your mature workers create a positive and productive future.)
Thank you to AHRI for providing the snapshot about this much discussed issue. This data cannot be ignored. Compare the cost of proactive investment in your current mature employees to the cost of recruiting, replacing, losing knowledge and losing competitiveness. Take action now.
At Sageco, the men and women we call ‘sages’ are the experts and most senior executives in organisations, who have spent a lifetime – or at least a very long time (measured in decades) – learning, leading and applying their knowledge in the specialist areas they direct.
Facilitating them in the process of capturing and transferring their expert knowledge is an unusual and fascinating privilege. Their stories are unique, and in telling them you get some glimpses (often totally unexpected) into the complexities of how our very complex society works.
Stories are told in every technical and management realm:
- How to locate an inexplicable leak causing lower pressure in some small corner of a city’s huge water mains network.
- What can be done to ensure safety and balance the clearly conflicting demands of a railway line and its road overpass, built in unavoidably unstable terrain.
- The secret skills of negotiation that keep a large public utility operating and profitable, while avoiding strikes and meeting the increasing pay needs and conditions of its workers.
All those involved in capturing their stories and handing on the skills of the sages learn and grow: the people who will take over their work from the sages, colleagues from other areas linked to their output, administrators who keep the workforce operating. Often the sages themselves learn all over again lessons they had forgotten – or knew by intuition or implicitly.
And perhaps the most satisfying aspect is to see the sages thanked and acknowledged by colleagues who understand, often for the first time, how much they contribute to keeping the wheels turning.
For over seven years the Sageco Exchange program has been used by organisations as a catalyst for knowledge transfer. Contact Sageco to find out more.
When Richard Branson speaks, people tend to listen. You don’t become a billionaire for nothing!
And once again he demonstrates his ‘deep smarts’ by sharing advice for promoting your business’s best asset – your experienced workers.
Q: How do you help ageing workers embrace a changing environment and adapt to new ways of doing things, and how can employers better utilize their more senior employees?
A: As an ageing worker myself, I will attempt to answer on behalf of my contemporaries.
When people ask how old I am, my favorite response is,
Younger than Mick Jagger!
No disrespect intended to Mick, who is a friend of mine, but seeing him onstage certainly shows how big a disconnect there can be between doing what you do best and acting your age.
In the business of entrepreneurship, past experience is particularly helpful, since building a business is an art. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it, but the more you practice, the more skilled you become.
Read the full response from Richard on Entrepreneur.com