Demographics in companies
How to master the demographic change in the company
The ageing of society, the lack of skilled workers, the collective departure of older workers, the enormous loss of knowledge – the demographic development in Germany also poses major challenges for companies.
But those who rely on optimal working conditions and early knowledge transfer on the basis of a good corporate culture can turn these challenges into competitive opportunities and are positioned in the best possible position for the future.
The demographic development in Germany has been discussed in detail in the media for some time. However, consequences or reactions in the company’s operational practice can only be partially identified. As positive examples, advertising measures suitable for target groups can be mentioned above all. Retailers are already practicing senior marketing at a high level in order to make the best use of the customer potential in the group of so-called “Best Agers”. As consumers have long been recognized as an interesting target group, the situation in dealing with older workers in companies is quite different.
Most companies are still unprepared for the challenges posed by demographic change. By reaching retirement age, many companies will lose up to 50 of their total workforce over the next 10 years. In addition, there are insufficient knowledge transfer processes and an increasing shortage of skilled workers. This development poses a major challenge for the vast majority of companies. But only those who are right can see these challenges not only as an opportunity, but can use them as a strategic competitive advantage.
Essentially, there are methodologically well-heely tangible challenges in the areas of working conditions and knowledge transfer. There is considerable potential in the age- and age-appropriate design of workplaces. In order for older employees to continue to contribute a large part to the success of a company, it is particularly important to use them along the lifework model, taking into account their specific skills.
The business processes and the workplace itself should be designed in such a way that the age-related requirements are taken into account as optimally as possible. Depending on the industry and the company, the solutions can look very different. For example, group work and special tasks offer more than assembly line work and simple tasks as an opportunity for long-term employees. It is important to use experience profitably instead of relying on physical effort.
Another potential is the transfer of knowledge and how knowledge can best be transferred between older and young workers. According to the life-work model, it is a good opportunity to use older employees as mentors for young young talents or to promote work in age-mixed teams. Furthermore, employees can continue to be employed part-time as “senior consultants” and “method coaches” even after retirement age.
The basic prerequisite for all these measures, in addition to the intelligent documentation of knowledge, is to anchor the appreciation of employees for their experience and regardless of their age in the corporate culture. When older employees are highly regarded and respected for their experiences, they are happy to share their knowledge and pass it on to younger colleagues. If this does not happen, a “you will see that you cannot cope without me” attitude arises. Even a sophisticated knowledge management usually goes nowhere.
In order to master demographic change, the fun and interest in this transition process is an essential success factor for all employees. Companies that can rely on motivated workers, young and old, will be the most challenging of demographic change.