Employer Toolkit: Hospitality

1. Toolkit Action Plan

Understand your business/organisation

  • Develop an age profile for your workforce, using one of the existing tools or by creating your own audit
  • Discover patterns and relationships through analysis of the data collected
  • Consider future projections of staff, resource requirements and demographic changes. Where will your staffing needs exist in the future?
  • Plan and act upon these results

Designing Work for Older Workers – Successful Retention of Over 50s

  • Understand the reasons why older people may leave the workforce before they really want to or are ready to
  • Identify those within your organisation who may be at risk of early departure
  • Take steps to increase Work Ability for staff, respecting that each staff member is likely to have different constraints upon their productivity
  • Develop a program of continuous adjustment, in line with the needs of your workforce

The Health and Safety of Older Workers

  • Understand the associated costs resulting from an employee’s unwilling or involuntary absence from the workplace
  • Take action to look after the health and safety of older workers: useful guidance is available from the Health and Safety Executive

    Wellbeing at work

    *Promote healthier lifestyles, both inside and outside work

    *Challenge presenteeism amongst staff

Recruitment

  • Use age neutral language
  • Place adverts where older workers will see them
  • Promote yourself as an age positive employer
  • Ensure agency staff are hired in the same manner
  • Evaluate candidates according to values, behaviours, competencies demonstrated and their ability to do the job
  • Respect differences within the backgrounds and types of qualification which candidates possess

Retraining/Redeployment

  • Ensure widespread understanding of the benefits and options for retraining/ redeploying staff
  • Identify and evaluate the reasons why retraining is necessary for each individual concerned
  • Evaluate what elements of the job are required to change to support older workers who do retrain
  • Invest in existing members of staff and save on recruitment and induction costs

Learning and Development

Ensure that:

  • No employee is denied developmental opportunities as a result of their age
  • Managers and staff of all ages recognise the personal and business benefits of continued development in later life
  • Training is delivered in an appropriate context, and is responsive to the needs and capabilities of staff
  • E-training is delivered in combination with in-work training opportunities

Flexible Working

Ensure that:

  • Managers and staff are aware of the benefits of flexible working arrangements
  • Flexible working opportunities are actively promoted to staff members
  • There is a clear process and criteria to apply for flexible working
  • Managers are confident leading staff who work to different patterns
  • Managers are aware of the legitimate reasons they can decline flexible working
  • Requests and agreements for flexible working are monitored to ensure equity of access

Phased Retirement

  • Aim to provide employees with ways in which they are able to decrease their hours/ days/ responsibilities in a gradual manner as they approach retirement
  • Analyse what phased retirement options can be offered within your business
  • Consider the relationship between existing flexible working arrangements, and phased retirement options
  • Develop a formal scheme if necessary, including a timeframe for when the individual will leave the workplace
  • Promote and support whatever options are agreed upon

Legal Requirements

  • Remove all improper references to a default retirement age within literature and corporate policy, and take steps to see that conversations around retirement are appropriately phrased
  • Ensure managers and staff are aware of, and act in accordance with, equality legislation, which provides for protection from discrimination in, recruitment and employment
  • Promote awareness amongst employees regarding the near universal right to request flexible working conditions
  • Ensure that your make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers as required under the Equality Act 2010 to make sure they aren’t substantially disadvantaged in comparison with others when doing their jobs.

Developing a Strategy for Older Workers

  • Recognise the need to develop an organisational strategy relating specifically to older workers
  • Identify how this strategy will be developed, and how it can be implemented successfully throughout the business
  • Aim to be proactive, making the most of an ageing workforce rather than just ‘coping’ with it

Knowledge transfer

  • Understand the different types of knowledge which must be passed on in your organisation
  • Identify which employees possess knowledge which is not duplicated elsewhere
  • Focus upon staff that have been with the business for considerable periods of time
  • Develop procedures of knowledge transfer, including mentoring programs

Performance Management

  • Understand what knowledge, skills and behaviours are required for different jobs; be specific in terms of outcomes required and areas of development
  • Develop procedures to assess the competency and skills of all staff, regardless of age and potentially using the planning –> supporting –> reviewing framework
  • Hold regular discussions with employees regarding all matters of working life and development, not only retirement options
  • Consider the benefits of promoting Mid-life Career Review options
  • Where appropriate, do not wait for scheduled meetings – act on issues as they arise
  • Monitor disciplinary and capability cases by age to identify trends or patterns in your workforce

Further Sources of Help and Support

Useful Links’ relevant for each subject area can be found at the end of each section of the Toolkit

Some general sources of support are:

2. The Business Case for Older Workers

Being considerate of a mixed-age workforce, and taking measures to better manage older workers, is not only a luxury for larger firms and businesses with established HR practices. It is a necessity for most firms across the UK looking to grow and prosper. There are many reasons as to why this is the case.

The Demographic, Sectoral and Wider Economic Case

The Demographic Case
A decline in younger staff

The number of young people in the population is predicted to decline. By 2024 there will be 200,000 fewer people aged 16-49

An older population in work

Not only will there be a fall in the number of young people nationwide, there will be a corresponding rise in the number of people who may have traditionally been considered as old

By 2020 over 50s will comprise almost 1/3 of the working age population

By 2022 there will be 3.7 million more people aged 50 - State Pension age

Promoting effective management of older workers is a necessity across the entire economy. The need to retain older workers, before they involuntarily leave the workforce, is consistent across the spectrum:

  • Half of economically inactive older men who had worked at some point in the last 8 years previously worked in one of just four sectors: manufacturing, construction, transport, and wholesale/retail
  • Two thirds of economically inactive older women who had worked at some point in the last 8 years previously worked in: education, health/social care, wholesale/retail and public administration

The guidance offered in this Toolkit could therefore be of help to a large range of businesses looking to retain the knowledge, skills and experience of key staff members

The Sectoral Case

The Hospitality sector in the UK employs approximately 1.6 million people in approximately 182,000 separate establishments[1].

The sector is divided into three distinct types of businesses, as defined by the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC) Code. These are:

  • Hotels, holiday, camping and other accommodation establishments (SIC code 55)
  • Food and beverage service activities (SIC code 56)
  • Travel, tour operators and reservation activities (SIC code 79)

The table below shows businesses in the sector by size, from Small (0-50 employees) to Large (250+ employees). Small employers (less than 50 employees) make up 97.1 per cent of establishments, with 126,685 establishments employing less than 10 employees making up 71.5 per cent of this group.

[1] ONS APS October 2013-September 2014; ONS UK Business: Activity, Size and Location, 2015

Hospitality sector business by size

Employer Standard Industry Code (SIC code) Small 0-50 Employees Medium
50-250 Employees
Large 250+ Employees Total
55  Hotels, holiday, camping and other accommodation establishments

17,950

1,910 95

19,955

56  Food and beverage service activities

148,835

2,895 125

151,855

79  Travel, tour operators and reservation activities

10,285

265 35

10,585

Total

177,070

5,070 255

182,395

Percentage

97.1

2.8 0.1

100.0%

 

Overall, 97.1 per cent of establishments employ less than 50 people, while only 0.1 per cent employ more than 250 employees. BIS Business population estimates for 2015 indicate however that these larger employers account for 39.5 per cent of employment within accommodation and food services.

Demographics of the sector

Just over half of the Hospitality workforce across the UK is aged between 25 to 49 years old (51 per cent ) – the same as the total population[1]. However, compared to all other sectors, it employs highest proportion of those aged 18-24 (31 per cent) and the lowest proportion of those aged over 50 (19 per cent).

Restaurants, bars and nightclubs employ a significantly higher proportion of younger workers than other types of establishments within the sector.

[1] APS October 2013-September 2014

Age profile of UK Hospitality[1]

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For those over the age of 40, the ratio of full-time to part-time work holds steady at around two thirds: one third until the age of 60 – above age 60 part-time working increases to 49 per cent in the age group 60-64 and 74 per cent in the age group 65-69. Across all sectors the proportion of older workers wanting to reduce their hours increases consistently; in Hospitality however only 33 per cent of those aged 50-64 feel this, compared to the 43 per cent average for this age group across all sectors.

The table below shows the age and working patterns of employees over the age of 40 in the sector.

Age

Full time ‘000 Part time ‘000 Total ‘000 Full time %

Part time %

40-44

83 47 130 64 36

45-49

78 42 120 65

35

50-54

73 45 118 62 38

55-59

58 31 89 65

35

60-64 28 27 55 51

49

65-69 8 21 29 26

74

All 40+ 328 213 541 61 39

 

[1] Labour Force Survey 2010

The UKCES 2012 Briefing Paper on the hospitality, tourism and sports sector[1] provides a wealth of detailed information on the sector workforce. Some key points are that:

  • The sector has the lowest proportion of full-time employees of all sectors (55 per cent compared to 73 per cent) and employs a particularly young workforce (33 per cent are aged under 25 compared to 11 per cent across the economy). In addition, 11 per cent of workers in the sector are self-employed ( compared to 14 per cent across the economy), 10 per cent are employed on a temporary basis (six per cent for the economy as a whole) and 52 per cent are female (46 per cent across the economy) – women are significantly under-represented in managerial roles.
  • The workforce is relatively low skilled. Only a fifth of the workforce are qualified to level 4 and above (compared to 37 per cent across the whole economy), though this varies by subsector.
  • The sector has the highest incidence of retention problems of any of the 15 SSA sectors (nine per cent compared to five per cent across the economy as a whole).
  • Around a fifth (21 per cent) of hospitality, tourism and sport workers were born overseas: eight per cent of sector workers (156,000) are from within Europe and a further 13 per cent (260,000) from non-EU countries. The sector has the highest proportion of European workers (the average across the entire economy is five per cent). At 17 per cent of the workforce, food and beverage services has a particularly high proportion of workers from the rest of the world, with an additional nine per cent from within Europe. Within accommodation 13 per cent are from Europe with a further 10 per cent from the rest of the world.
  • The sector is set to grow at a faster rate than the economy as a whole (with a forecast 11 per cent increase in workforce size compared to five per cent for the period 2010 to 2020).The fastest growth is forecast in higher skilled occupations, with 32 per cent growth predicted in professional occupations, 26 per cent in associate professional and technical, 24 per cent in caring, leisure and other service occupations, and 19 per cent in managers, directors and senior officials.

A 2015 research report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the International Longevity Centre – UK contains valuable sectoral comparisons on the challenge presented by an ageing workforce. The hospitality sector, although employing a smaller proportion of older workers than other sectors –as illustrated below – is relatively successful in retaining them:

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As a result of these UK-wide demographic changes:

  • There will be a significant decline in the number of younger workers – the traditional age cohort recruited in the Hospitality sector
  • There will be a decline in the number of workers aged 35-44 – the main ‘management’ cohort in hospitality
  • There will be a large increase in the number of 50-60+ year olds – both as potential customers (‘grey’ market) and employees for the Hospitality sector.

Labour shortages in younger age groups will be exacerbated by immigration restrictions which may limit access to non-EU labour in key sectors, e.g. chefs in Indian/Chinese/Thai restaurants and increased competition for ‘young’ European labour as the sector expands internationally.

For hospitality employers this means:

  • You need to forward plan on populating key cohorts in the future – traditional labour pools may no longer be available
  • You need to review ways to enhance the attractiveness of your business/the sector to younger, middle aged and older workers – competition for younger and middle aged workers will increase, older workers can provide a solution to skills shortages
  • You need to monitor the age profile of your workforce so that you can be prepared and are able to adjust recruitment accordingly
  • You need to undertake more retraining and up-skilling of workers - particularly those cohorts who in the past may not have always been the focus of training
  • You need to consider taking on apprentices who may not be eligible for government funding
  • You need to embrace new ways of working – in particular encouraging greater use of a variety of flexible working options including flexible retirement in order to retain skilled employees
  • Performance discussions and management need to be improved (introduced) in order to more effectively manage the ageing workforce – especially since enforced retirement is not lawful
  • You need to be more proactive in the development of mentoring and knowledge sharing
  • You need to consider how roles and tasks may need to be adjusted for workers experiencing a decline in their physical capacity whatever their age
  • More support for employee well-being and healthy living is needed to maximise performance over a longer working life
  • You need to challenge assumptions and prejudice regarding the capabilities of older workers.

And failing to address these issues may mean:

  • Older customers may not feel ‘welcome’ in some establishments
  • Labour and skills shortages will put pressure on costs – wage inflation
  • Smaller businesses will suffer disproportionately as smaller or family run businesses fail to attract and retain sufficient workers (potential by larger companies to ‘poach’ key staff)
  • A shortage of talent and experience could mean you struggle to compete
  • Failure to adapt to new ways of working and up-to-date people management techniques could result in you (and the sector) continuing to lose out compared with others in attracting and retaining talent
  • Poor knowledge transfer could leave you struggling to deliver
  • There will be an increased risk of discrimination claims and associated costs.
  • You will find it increasingly difficult to recruit

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/306403/briefing-paper-ssa12-hospitality-sport-tourism.pdf

The Wider Economic Case
Good for the wider economy, good for business

The positive effects of retaining more experienced older employees, and developing their skills and knowledge further, would have a large national impact

If everyone in the UK were to work one year longer, GDP could increase by approximately 1%

Furthermore, halving the employment gap between workers aged 50-SPa and those in their late 40s could have seen nominal GDP 1 per cent (up to £18 billion) higher in 2013.

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The Individual, Intergenerational and Capability Case

The Individual Case

Employers need not be scared about encouraging greater engagement from older staff members. This is because releasing the potential of older workers could not only benefit the business; in most cases it could also benefit the individual

For each extra year in work, an average earner could have around £25000 extra income and increase their pension pot by around £4500 (4%)

Retiring at 55 instead of 65 could reduce an average earner’s pension pot by a third. They would also have to spread this over a much longer retirement.     

Surveys suggest that many individuals have already expressed an interest in working longer:

  • In 2014, the average age at which respondents said they thought they would stop working and retire was 65.5 for men, and 65.0 for women
  • Over half of respondents who had not yet retired said that they had changed their mind over the last few years about the time when they expected to retire
  • 74 per cent of respondents would still like to be in work between the ages of 60 and 65

Even amongst those already retired:

  • More than one in five missed work and almost a quarter wished they had worked longer
  • 36 per cent said that they would advise someone who was thinking about stopping work altogether and retiring to ‘consider switching to flexible or part time work for a period first’
  • 20 per cent said ‘If you can, take a break from work and then make a decision’
The Intergenerational Case

Taking steps to encourage the employment of older workers could also benefit younger people on a national level

Numerous studies have debunked the ‘lump of labour’ fallacy; a myth that there are a set number of jobs within an economy and as a result older workers may be guilty of taking younger people’s jobs

In fact, the opposite may be the case – studies have shown that as the number of workers aged 55 and over increases, overall employment rises and unemployment falls. There is even some evidence that younger people’s wages may also increase

The Capability Case

Research from the Health and Safety Executive has shown that:

  • Older employees can still contribute based on their acquired knowledge and skills
  • ‘There is evidence that cognitive performance does not generally show any marked decrease until after the age of 70’
  • Older employees can still contribute based on their physical ability
  • ‘Declines in physical capacity can be delayed and minimised with regular exercise in leisure time’
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What Progress Has Been Made?

Progress in the Labour Market
  • In the last 5 years, there has been an increase of over 1 million workers over the age of 50.
  • In the last 10 years there has been an increase of nearly 2 million workers over the age of 50. For people aged 50-64 overall employment has increased from 64% to 69%. For people aged 65 and over overall employment has increased from 6% to 10%.

The corresponding employment rate for people below 50 has been broadly constant of 81% for people aged 25-49. This demonstrates once again that a rise in the employment rate for older workers does not automatically take away jobs from younger people.

Progress in Employer Attitudes
Survey results show positive employer attitudes to older workers
  • Over three quarters of respondents said that the ‘experience of workers aged 50 or over’ was a main benefit of having them in their organisation
  • The ‘reliability of workers aged 50 or over’ was perceived to be a main benefit by 65 per cent of respondents
  • Compared to their younger counterparts, employers said workers aged 50 or over were more (21 per cent) or equally (68 per cent) productive
  • Workers aged 50 or over were said to be more (53 per cent) or equally (42 per cent) reliable than their younger counterparts
  • Training for workers aged 50 or over was considered to offer a good return on investment by 71 per cent of employers
  • Small businesses were more likely to report that they did not perceive any challenges of having workers aged 50 and over in the business
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Useful Links

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3. Understand your Business

To Do

  • Develop an age profile for your workforce, using one of the existing tools or by creating your own audit
  • Discover patterns and relationships through analysis of the data collected
  • Find differences between age groups, i.e. are older staff less likely to attend training programmes?
  • Consider future projections of staff, resource requirements and demographic changes. Where will your staffing needs exist in the future?
  • Plan and act upon these results
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Why/How to Better Understand Your Business Needs in Relation to an Ageing Workforce

In this instance, an age profile is an assessment of the demographic distribution according to age in a working environment. It is often expressed through age brackets and contrasted against multiple aspects of work, i.e. flexible working patterns adopted, or protected characteristics such as gender.

Why
  • Understand more about your employees’ attitudes to age in the workplace
  • Understand the needs of staff and better position your responses
  • Discover previously concealed patterns, and insights that employees may not otherwise share
  • Demographic information can help you to identify if you are successfully recruiting and retaining older workers
  • Age profiling teams, departments or whole organisations can assist employers to plan ahead, where there are groups of staff who may retire at similar times
How

Build an age profile of your workforce by examining past datasets and staff surveys, whilst also asking new questions where necessary.

  • Aim to catalogue information which allows you to see patterns between age, and other variables of interest

Having collected the required data, analyse it to answer a wide variety of questions. If you find you do not have the information to provide the answers, consider what questions you could ask to collate that information in a later round of polling.

  • How does the age profile of the workforce compare against internal factors?
    • Is it representative of an inclusive and diverse work force?
    • Does it change across different functions of the organisation, i.e. customer facing vs. back office? Administrative vs. managerial?
  • How does the age profile of your workforce compare against external factors?
    • Is it representative of the local labour force, jobseekers and new hires?
    • Is it representative of its customers and clients?
    • Is the business responsive to their needs and would it be better perceived if it was more representative of its clientele?
  • Can it help you to focus upon areas of improvement in your business?
  • Can it identify a pattern amongst staff leavers, i.e. do people tend to leave particular job roles or departments at a certain age? Will you have to fill specific skills shortages?
  • Can it identify a pattern amongst jobseekers, i.e. are an increasing number of over 50s applying for jobs which offer flexible working conditions?
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Legal/Mythbusting/Useful Links

Legal

Employers are allowed to collect demographic information from their staff, provided that they follow the appropriate legal protocols and data protection requirements

Myth

‘I already know everything about my employees – including their ages! An age audit of any sort is a waste of time’

Fact

An age audit is not only about knowing how old your staff are. It is about identifying what this means for future business needs, employee wellbeing and customer satisfaction

Useful Links
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4. Designing Work for Older Workers – Successful Retention of Over 50s

To Do

  • Understand the reasons why older people leave the workforce before they really want to or are ready to
  • Identify those within your organisation who may be at risk of early departure
  • Take steps to increase Work Ability for staff, respecting that each staff member is likely to have different constraints upon their productivity
  • Develop a program of continuous adjustment- in line with the needs of your workforce
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Why/How to Manage Retention and 'Work Ability'

 

The Work Ability Index (WAI) was developed by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

  • Work Ability measures the inter-relationship between ‘the work capacity of a worker’ and the ‘work he or she does’. As such poor, or low, work ability identifies an employee with a greater capacity to do work than that which they are currently doing
  • The overall implication of Work Ability is that better designed work will lead to more productive work, and this means that management should address the problems faced by older employees
Why

As section 2 of this Toolkit demonstrates, the business case for employing and retaining older workers is extremely strong. Getting the best from our ageing workforce would benefit employers, older people themselves, and the wider economy.

However in order to retain staff, businesses must understand why older employees may unwillingly leave the workforce, and act accordingly.

  • Health and/or disability issues
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Desire for a better work-life balance
  • Lack of development or variety
  • Discriminatory working environments

This information may be more apparent if an age audit is conducted.

Elsewhere in this toolkit, there are specific sections recognising health and safety at work, flexible working arrangements, training, and discriminatory actions.

However, a general approach encompassing knowledge of Work Ability and accommodations of staffing needs is also required.

How

The two factors which have been identified as increasing Work Ability the most are;

  • Training and guiding managers to better accommodate the needs of older workers on an individualised basis
  • Decreasing repetitive movements and adding more variety within a role

However, because a vast number of adjustments can be made to improve ‘Work Ability’, it is best to retain focus by considering how work can be designed across broad themes, instead of trying to follow prescriptive recommendations of how it should be designed.

This could mean changes or adjustments to:

  • Work tasks
  • Organisational objectives
  • Training provided
  • Technology utilised
  • Environmental and organisational structures
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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Legal

All disabled employees are entitled to reasonable adjustments in the workplace or their working arrangements, which arise as a result of their disability. All employees have a right not to be discriminated against.

Myth

If an older worker cannot do the job at hand, it is because their age has ‘caught up with them’, and they can no longer be effective in the workplace.

Fact

The workplace poses different barriers for everyone. Identifying where staff Work Ability could be improved, and acting upon it, could help retain them within work.

Useful Links
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5. Health and Safety

To do

  • Understand the associated costs resulting from an employee’s unwilling or involuntary absence from the workplace
  • Address dangerous and unhealthy working patterns
  • Promote healthier lifestyles, both inside and outside work
  • Challenge presenteeism amongst staff
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Why Consider the Health and Safety of Older Workers

Direct (Financial) costs

Indirect costs

Continued payment of the employee’s salary and national insurance contributions (sick pay) Loss in output/production, and follow-up business
Payment of overtime incurred by other employees covering the workload Diminished product quality, provision of services and/or reputation
Potential increase in insurance, legal and associated fees Lost knowledge and skills developed through training
Payment for temporary/replacement staff Business/administrative costs of arranging cover, hiring a replacement and providing appropriate training

Employers have a legal responsibility to provide safe working environments with appropriate accommodations and precautions taken.

Older workers are still physically capable, IOSH and HSE research concluded;

  • ‘There is evidence that cognitive performance does not generally show any marked decrease until after the age of 70’
  • ‘Declines in physical capacity can be delayed and minimised with regular exercise in leisure time’
  • Reduction in muscle strength may decline as an employee ages, but it is only likely to affect work after the age of 65. Furthermore, reduction of muscle strength can be slowed, or even reversed, by training the muscles needed.
  • Poor work conditions, i.e. repetitive work and poor posture can cause health related problems regardless of age
  • Where changes to physical factors such as aerobic capacity do occur, they can often be ‘prevented or reduced by physical activity’
  • People’s reactions get slower with age but this can be offset by increased accuracy, accumulated knowledge and experience
  • The risk of non-fatal serious injury is lowest amongst older workers
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How to Manage the Health and Safety of Older Workers, (incl. presenteeism)

Good management of older workers’ health is good management of the health of all workers

  • In order to develop appropriate accommodations, an objective assessment of job requirements can highlight what is the required level of physical and mental ability
  • Policies which promote health should be multifaceted; they should account for physical activity and interventions, dietary advice and intellectual stimulation
  • When making accommodations for all staff you can ask;
    • Is there an appropriate balance within the work-rest schedule?
    • Have measures of risk assessment and reduction been implemented?
    • Are there appropriate reporting procedures for people who need to report health and safety concerns at work?

Presenteeism is the loss of productivity and output which results from employees who conceal ill health in the workplace, and subsequently are less efficient in their jobs.

It costs the UK more than £15bn annually; considerably more than the cost of absenteeism – the financial loss created by absence from the workplace, which is valued at £8.4bn. Furthermore, health conditions currently causing presenteeism are often the drivers for absenteeism in the future.

 

  • Be aware of the danger of presenteeism within your workforce
  • Ensure managers are alert to the possibility of staff under-performing due to underlying health difficulties
  • Measure and analyse for patterns using staff data
  • Have an open door policy and encourage staff to share their concerns with either their manager, or a separate agent - this could be achieved by signposting to other areas of support
  • Take active steps to promote healthier working patterns, such as further flexible working opportunities and accommodations to better support specific health or disability requirements
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Legal/Myth busting/Useful Links

Legal

Businesses have a legal responsibility to promote and build safe working environments

Myth

Older workers are fragile, and suffer from inevitable absences. They are all ill suited to physical jobs

Facts

Many older people over the age of 50 can continue in work if they are offered the right support and management. Age alone is not an indication of ill health or weakness

Useful Links
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6. Recruitment

To Do

  • Use age neutral language
  • Place adverts where older workers will see them
  • Promote yourself as an age positive employer
  • Ensure agency staff are hired in the same manner
  • Evaluate candidates according to values, behaviours, competencies demonstrated and their ability to do the job
  • Respect differences within the backgrounds and types of qualification which candidates possess
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Why/How to Actively Recruit Older Workers

Why
  • Older workers have talent, experience and knowledge
  • Widening the pool of potential recruits can increase the quality and productivity of an organisation
  • Age discrimination is unlawful unless it can be objectively justified
  • As people from mixed-age backgrounds develop and mature together, this brings benefits to the organisation through recognition of different experiences and shared learning practices
  • Older workers are a growing demographic; they are your customers or service users, and soon a critical mass of the potential workforce. You cannot afford to ignore them
How

When advertising and broadcasting employment opportunities, active steps and accommodations may be necessary in order to reach older jobseekers.

Advertising and promoting jobs
  • Use age neutral language
    • Recruitment materials should not cite age as a requirement- in all but a handful of cases this is illegal
    • Recruitment materials should not use euphemisms or synonyms for age, such as a ‘recent school leaver’, or someone who is ‘fresh’
  • Find and engage older workers
    • Consider why older people may not be applying for the jobs posted; although many will be on social media and job hunting sites, many others will not
    • Assess using recruitment agencies which specialise in older workers

 

  • Clear signposting, such as ‘We’re Hiring’, can help avoid confusion and encourage people of all ages to apply – this is especially important online, as frequent page changes may confuse otherwise willing jobseekers
  • Promote your company, its diversity and inclusiveness, to jobseekers:
    • When advertising, say that you welcome applications from people of all ages
    • Describe the accommodations you make to support older workers and all those who require greater flexibility, i.e. highlight flexible working hours if offered
  • Hold recruitment agencies that you work with to the same standard
    • Tell them that you are interested in capable employees of any age
    • Tell them what measures you take as a business to help your ageing workforce, and encourage them to explain this to all jobseekers
Evaluating and comparing candidates
  • Focus on whether the candidate has the right values and behaviours, can manage the competencies required, not whether they match the existing age-profile of the profession.
  • Challenge unconscious bias and assumptions made
    • Do not assume knowledge of an individual’s health or fitness based on age
    • Do not assume knowledge of length of expected service
  • Respect and embrace differences
    • An older jobseeker may have different qualifications to a younger one. As methods of standardised testing are frequently changing, hire on the basis of ability, not only on what type of assessment was sat
  • If interviewing by panel, consider a mixed-age panel
  • Ask all candidates the same questions
    • Asking only older workers about plans to retire may be viewed as discriminating against them because of their age. Instead consider asking all employees about where they see themselves in five years time
  • Separate personal details at the beginning of the sifting process and re-introduce them towards the end
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Legal/Myth busting

Legal

In most cases it is illegal to discriminate in the recruitment process on the basis of age

Myth

There is no point in hiring older workers as they will retire quickly, before they have contributed to the business or developed skills within it

Fact

Older workers often stay for longer than their younger colleagues once they have taken up a new post

Example: JD Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon run over 800 free house pubs, throughout the UK and employ over 23,500 employees. Wetherspoon was the first pub company to serve food throughout the day and to open all of its pubs from 10am for breakfast. 

The company's customer base is very broad, a fact which it is keen to reflect in its workforce. According to the company’s head of personnel and training:

"Some people's perception of our industry is that it's a youth-oriented one, so while we were very good at employing students, we'd always struggled to attract applications from the older age bracket. Although we had a retirement age, in practice we never used it, so early in 2006 we made the decision to scrap it and have never looked back. We now receive thousands of job applications each month, from people of all different ages and often recruit trainee managers in their 50s or 60s.”

The majority of frontline recruitment in the company is overseen by pub managers, and they have been trained to ensure that their recruitment practices do not discriminate on age. This includes the revision of all job specifications so that they are in line with good practice on age diversity and the re-writing of the company's interviewing skills course. Wetherspoon's job application forms do not ask for date of birth.

Wetherspoon has found it beneficial to attract diverse age ranges by offering flexible hours. This enables the employee to strike a balance between work and family or other commitments and the business to cover its core hours. For example, lunchtime is a particularly busy period for the company's outlets and it has found that some older workers - who might be looking to work for a few hours a week - are adaptable and happy to work at this time. Older staff are welcomed at all levels of the business, from part-time bar work to managerial posts. Feedback from pubs which employ older workers suggests they are particularly stable, with low absence, a strong work ethic and a commitment to the business.

Training is also available at all levels and Wetherspoon have a number of older employees who have progressed to manager level. Turnover of pub managers at Wetherspoon is half that of the industry average.

The business benefits of Wetherspoon's age diverse approach:

·         Enables the company to reflect its broad customer base

·         Helps to keep apace with demographic change

·         Flexible hours help to attract staff to cover busy periods

·         Staff retention levels are well above the industry norms.

·         Frontline managers satisfied with stability and hard work offered by older workers

·         More life experience particularly beneficial to pub manager role

·         The company reports that staff retention levels are well above the industry norms

·         Turnover of pub managers at Wetherspoon is half that of the industry average.

 

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7. Retraining/ Redeployment

To Do

  • Think about the culture of your organisation and how this supports staff retention
  • Ensure widespread understanding of the benefits and options for retraining/ redeploying staff
  • Identify and evaluate the reasons why retraining is necessary for each individual concerned
  • Evaluate if elements of the job are required to change to support older workers who do retrain
  • Invest in existing members of staff and save on recruitment and induction costs
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Why/How to Retrain/Redeploy Older Employees, (incl. Mid-life Career Reviews)

Why
  • To continue to make use of, and build upon, the skills, knowledge and resources already invested in your employee
  • To save on the costs associated with recruiting someone new to the business, including the recruitment and administrative burdens created
  • To allow more efficient knowledge transfer; knowledge does not leave the workplace, but is instead available with the same employee in their new role
  • To allow a trusted and valued employee to continue in the organisation
How

Retraining/redeployment should have as its focus the identification of a new placement which:

  • Utilises and builds upon the existing abilities of the older worker
  • Accommodates the requirements of the staff member and their motives behind redeployment
  • In order to identify the best path for retraining, you must first understand why it is that the person is in need of retraining.
Why does someone need/ want to leave their previous role?
  • Health and illness concerns caused by the repetition of a particular action/ aspect of their work/ working environment
  • Health and illness concerns caused by external factors which necessitate reasonable adjustments and accommodations and/ or a change in working pattern
  • Caring responsibilities which require a change in working arrangements
  • A reduction in the number of staff working in their area
  • A desire to change their working pattern and potentially adopt flexible working conditions or part-time hours

Some of these factors may be addressed through reasonable adjustments and accommodations being made, thereby allowing the older worker to be retained in their previous role.

However, in other cases accommodations may only be part of a larger process to retrain/ redeploy the employee.

What aspects of their role need to change so that they can continue in work?
  • Work cultures which challenge/ discourage those who are redeployed
  • Managerial requirements that mandate fixed working conditions, in time and location, where there is no business need
  • Physical exertions and repetitions which are no longer healthy
  • Equipment which can no longer be managed efficiently or securely

When deciding whether an older worker is in need of retraining, it is essential to identify what competencies and actions are currently required from them.

Following this, a manager must ask whether these skills can continue to be exercised if previously restrictive factors are challenged, and suitable accommodations are made.

If this is not the case, then retraining for another role may be the best option for all involved.

Mid-life Career Review

A Mid-life Career Review is an opportunity for people who are in their late 40s/ early 50s to take stock, review their options and plan for the future. The Review process aims to help people to manage their careers, find further relevant information, develop an action plan and address the life issues they face.

The Mid-life Career Review process has been piloted by NIACE in a project looking to develop and test different models

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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Legal

Retraining employees is a legal requirement in certain industries. Therefore, it is essential that managers are able to recognise why an employee has left their last role, and the restrictive elements of that role which must be addressed

Myth

Older workers are too old to retrain. They are not interested in changing career path, even if it is within the same sector

Fact

Provided that the options they have accommodate their needs and support their development in the workplace, many older workers are happy to further their working lives in new areas

Useful Links
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8. Learning and Development

To Do

Ensure that:

  • No employee is denied developmental opportunities as a result of their age
  • Access and provision of learning and development opportunities for older workers is monitored in order to ensure equity of access
  • Managers and staff of all ages recognise the personal and business benefits of continued development in later life
  • Training is delivered in an appropriate context, and is responsive to the needs and capabilities of staff
  • E-training is delivered in combination with more traditional in-work training opportunities
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Why/How to Promote Learning and Development for Older Employees

Why

Learning and development opportunities should be available to older employees.

  • Older workers can benefit just as much as younger colleagues when offered the opportunity to build upon their skills
  • Continued learning and development can build upon existing skills in older workers, rather than having to create and instil them anew
  • Learning and developing will allow your existing workforce to compete with potential hires, thus saving money and time on recruiting staff
  • Age is not an indication that staff will be less willing to consider training, provided that their requirements and existing knowledge are accommodated for
  • Training can be a good opportunity to identify areas for long-term improvement and career progression
  • If training is not offered because of age, employees may be able to bring a case of age discrimination
How
Seek to identify:
  • Why older workers might be reluctant to attend training
    • A lack of confidence and an aversion to being evaluated and compared
    • Disinterest because they do not believe they have benefitted from past training
    • Disinterest because they are frustrated/discouraged by the method of delivery and the organisational context of training
  • Whether elements in work may prevent access to training for older workers
    • Only younger workers are referred for learning and development
    • Unfair assumptions are held that all older people are unable to learn new skills, or that they are disinterested/ insulted when asked to participate
Create an expectation that all workers are expected to carry out appropriate training
  • This expectation can be upheld within employment contracts, promotion exercises, and the overall corporate culture
  • Demonstrate that your business values learning and development at all levels and all stages of an individual’s career
Build better programmes of training, learning and development
The delivery of training
  • Training is delivered in a manner which is comfortable to those undertaking it
  • Where possible allow for training on the job alongside more traditional classroom environments
  • Training is adaptive; different people learn in different manners and some will benefit more in certain environments where others will not
  • Promote training which is experiential and pragmatic; those involved are practicing the skills required as they are learning them
The content of training
  • Ensure that instructors take account of and are empathetic towards the requirements that older workers are likely to have, i.e. dual caring responsibilities
  • Training is designed following consultation with older workers, to ensure buy-in, ease of use and relevant skills offered
  • Training recognises prior skills learned, knowledge gained and relevant experience
  • Identify areas where older workers have specific training needs.
    • Older workers can often act as mentors in the workplace, so it is imperative that sufficient training is provided to ensure that this relationship is mutually beneficial
E-training
  • Include all workers, regardless of age, and do not assume that older workers are disinterested or technologically unaware
  • Where possible, use in tandem with practical and verbal training
  • For staff who are less confident, the use of paper-based ‘how to proceed/ complete’ instruction booklets with screen shots can help
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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Legal

If older workers are offered less training, learning and development opportunities than younger colleagues in an equivalent role, they may have a case for age discrimination

Myth

Only younger people are interested in learning and developing. Older workers are often annoyed by being asked to complete training

Fact

This is typically only the case when the training being offered does not build upon the skills and talents of the older worker, and forces them to replicate competencies which they have already demonstrated

Useful Links
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9. Flexible Working

To Do

Ensure that:

  • Managers and staff are aware of the benefits of flexible working arrangements
  • Flexible working opportunities are actively promoted to staff members
  • There is a clear process and criteria to apply for flexible working
  • Managers are confident leading staff who work to different patterns
  • Managers are aware of the legitimate reasons they can decline flexible working
  • Requests and agreements for flexible working are monitored to ensure equity of access
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What Types of Flexible Working Arrangements can be Utilised

There are many different flexible working arrangements. Those detailed here involve flexibility in the hours/ days worked, rather than in respect of location or responsibility.

Part-time Working

An employee chooses to reduce their hours/days or tasks, alongside their pro-rata benefits. This is the most common form of flexible working and may be used in tandem with others.

It allows businesses to retain talented staff, whilst offering older employees more time outside the workplace for other considerations, i.e. caring for their loved ones.

Job Share

When 2 or more employees are responsible for one role between them. This is often paired with part-time working as 2 people on limited hours complete the role of one person.

By allowing 2 people to input into the same role, businesses can ensure a constant presence during traditional working hours.

They can also benefit from the employees’ combined expertise, although there may be associated costs in facilitating the employment of 2 people.

Flexitime

Flexitime allows employees to alter their defined hours of work on a regular basis. By working more than their contracted hours at one stage, an employee may, with their manager’s permission, take that allotted time off on a separate occasion.

This ensures that, on average, a full working week is completed, but staff are still provided with flexibility, i.e. allowing them to collect their children from school.

Compressed working week

An employee commits themselves to completing the hours for a certain number of days, often a typical working week of 5 days, in a shorter period of time, i.e. 37.5 hours over 4 days.

They work more than the traditionally allotted hours per day, and as a result maintain a strong connection with the business.

Career break/unpaid leave

Older employees are often attracted to this option as it allows them to take a longer and well deserved break after an extended period in work. Many people return to the workplace energised and with greater motivation if they are allowed a longer break instead of retirement.

Additional planned unpaid leave

An employee has additional unpaid leave; either on a regular occurrence such as 2 weeks off every 2 months, or as part of their overall remuneration package, i.e. an additional 20 days of unpaid leave to be taken with agreement across the year.

Retirement Pool

A company and its willing retirees maintain contact, with the possibility that those retirees could return to work on a temporary basis. This could occur when the company is experiencing a surge in demand, or an unexpected reduction in staff.

Fixed term contract

An employee is contracted for a fixed-time period, possibly to provide extra support until the end of a project/ posting. This can be on a seasonal basis, in accordance with demand, or as an older worker’s final posting before retirement.

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Why/How Should Flexible Working Arrangements Be Considered

Why
  • Increased efficiency and profitability – having a flexible workforce means that your business can be more responsive during peak times, more adaptive and more available for customers. It can also make you more attractive to jobseekers and therefore widen the pool of potential employees
  • Higher retention – Providing greater flexibility for staff may help your business become a more attractive place to work. Employees and managers may benefit from increased job satisfaction which results from greater flexibility. Therefore, they may be less likely to look for work elsewhere
  • Legal responsibility – the right to request flexible working conditions has been extended to almost everybody. Businesses must consider each statutory request, and they can only be rejected in line with one or more of the eight reasons in accordance with the ACAS Statutory Code of Practice
  • Save money – office and development space is often the largest cost for many smaller businesses. Having fewer staff in the office at any one time could allow savings in this area

Example – Flexible Working

McDonald’s

McDonald’s recognise that their 85,000 employees need to balance their home lives with their working lives. They offer a wide range of flexible working initiatives which are all designed to give employees the freedom to juggle their work with their personal commitments. This can relieve the pressure many people experience when trying to meet the demands of both a busy work and personal life. It also enables those people, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to be economically active due to other commitments, to lead working lives. 

Family and Friends Contract: The Family and Friends Contract is a UK first, groundbreaking scheme, which allows family working in the same restaurant to share and cover each other’s shifts (with no prior notice required). It’s designed to help McDonald’s’ diverse range of employees juggle their work and personal lives. They have since extended the contract to include friends, widening the group of employees that can benefit from the scheme.

The scheme benefits numerous age groups. For example, students with last-minute deadlines, busy working women with children and not least, older employees with other commitments and employees with caring responsibilities. Many of McDonald’s’ older workers work alongside up to three generations of their family members. The scheme enables them to work as much or little as they wish, depending on their individual needs and situation, offering them greater flexibility without disrupting the business.

Several older workers have told McDonald’s they appreciate the opportunity to alternate their hours at short notice, giving them a much greater opportunity to change their schedules at last minute then if they had been on a traditional contract of employment. This in turn allows them to fully maximise the benefits of spending time with their grand children (or indeed great-grandchildren), spouses and friends, many of whom may be retired.

How
  • Develop a plan setting out how your business will handle flexible working requests
    • Identify the flexible working patterns which the business would be able to support
    • Encourage employees to participate where appropriate
  • Establish clear rules for flexible working arrangements which are adopted, in order to maintain structure and discipline in the workforce
  • Ensure strong levels of communication,
    • With employees who may apply for flexible working arrangements
    • With managers who may have to decide upon, and manage, flexible working arrangements
    • Between those in the workforce who may be affected by changes made
A statutory right to request

Employees have a statutory right to request flexible working arrangements and have them considered in line with Acas’ Code of Practice.

Each employee can make one such request per year, and as a result of exercising this right, an employer must act in a reasonable manner in accordance with the Statutory Code of Practice.

One part of this is that rejection can only be for one (or more) of the 8 reasons stated in the ACAS’ Statutory Code of Practice.

the burden of additional costs

an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff

a detrimental impact on quality

an inability to recruit additional staff

a detrimental impact on performance

detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work

a planned structural change to your business

A non-statutory request

Outside of the statutory request, an employee may ask to work flexibly at anytime, and as many times as they wish.

However in these instances an employer can handle these requests anyway they think best and accept/reject a proposal for any (non-discriminatory) reason whatsoever.

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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Legal

The right to request flexible working now applies to almost all individuals who have worked for their employer for more than 26 weeks

Myth

Flexible working arrangements are inherently inefficient and unproductive

Fact

When properly managed, flexible working can ensure that employees remain attendant, engaged and motivated. This in turn could generate productivity and efficiency gains

Useful Links
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10. Phased Retirement

To Do

  • Encourage retirement and future planning throughout an employee’s career
  • Analyse what phased retirement options can be offered within your business
  • Consider the relationship between existing flexible working arrangements, and phased retirement options
  • Review or develop specific policies for flexible retirement within your organisation
  • Promote and support whatever options are agreed upon
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What is Phased Retirement and Why Consider it for Your Business

What

Phased retirement is the gradual reduction in hours/days an employee spends at work, before they leave employment for good.

It is the opposite of the traditional notion of a cliff-edge retirement, whereby an older worker would transition overnight from a full working week to no involvement in the labour market, overnight.

Phased retirement options may differ from normal flexible working accommodations in two ways.

  • They may include an ‘end-date’, at which the employee agrees to completely transition out of the labour market or decrease their hours even further
  • They may make reference to a pension, particularly where an occupational pension has been accumulated in the same workplace

Many older workers will utilise flexible working patterns as the first step towards retirement, with phased retirement being their preferred option

  • However, not all older workers opting for flexible working opportunities are doing so on a set path to retirement.
    • Many will plan to work in their new arrangements for years to come and some may even choose to return to a more traditional working arrangement in the future, for example if they have fewer caring responsibilities
Why
  • Knowledge transfer is likely to be more successful where phased retirement is available. This is because as one person decreases their hours in the workplace, another can be recruited to fulfil those hours not undertaken. This facilitates a highly effective induction for the new employee and allows for one-on-one interaction between the colleagues, and the personal transfer of knowledge
  • Staff retention may improve as older workers do not feel the pressure of a full working week all the way up to their retirement. Instead they have an earlier and continuous opportunity to transition to retirement and become accustomed to greater freedom from work
  • Succession planning may be made easier due to both greater rates of retention and improved mechanisms of knowledge transfer
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How to Manage Different Programs of Phased Retirement

For larger employers, it may be necessary to create formal structures of phased retirement. This can prevent confusion and ensure phased retirement programs are administered consistently and effectively

In formal schemes it is important to consider the following
  • Management assesses each claim according to a clear and structured criteria. For example, evaluating the impact phased retirement may have on
    • The continuing operation of the business
    • Customer satisfaction with the service provided
    • The skill requirements within the team
  • Open communication;
    • regarding the availability of phased retirement options and the manner in which proposals are evaluated
    • discussing the benefits of phased retirement to staff
      • Employers should not be afraid to ‘sell’ the positive aspects, including an improved work-life balance
When considering implementing a phased retirement policy, there are many important factors to consider
  • The legal requirements of the employer to consider requests for flexible working conditions and to implement reasonable accommodations
  • The age at which employees will be permitted to join the phased retirement program
  • The relationship between any occupational pension programs and phased retirement
  • How such measures may impact on projected labour and skill shortages
  • How knowledge transfer will be managed, particularly between key employees
  • Whether there has been sufficient communication with employees, and the extent to which they have signalled their interest
Variations in phased retirement/ Preparing for retirement
Wind down Staff continue in their current roles but adopt flexible working hours. For example, they may become part-time and reduce the hours or days worked per week. Or they may have regular unpaid leave, allowing them more time out of the workplace to pursue other activities
Step down/

Bridge job

Staff take a different role, with fewer responsibilities within the organisation. Their experience and knowledge is maintained and they are able to continue at work, whilst balancing fewer tasks
Time out Staff are able to take an extended break to pursue outside interests before they return to work. This could prevent burnout and refocus staff who have been working for many years.
Draw down This option is only available where the required pension arrangements are in place. It allows staff to draw money from their occupational program whilst continuing in work.
Retirement pool This is not a traditional phased retirement program. Instead, it is when employees who have retired remain in contact with their past employer, with the option of returning to work on a temporary basis, i.e. to help complete a certain project, or on a consultancy basis
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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Legal There are certain legal requirements around drawing upon your pension. Seek guidance from accredited professionals or the schemes themselves before integrating them into your phased retirement offer

Myth

Employees are disinterested in phased retirement programs. No one will want to stretch out the process of retiring, or even work after State Pension age

Fact

Many older workers appreciate the numerous social and financial benefits of continued work. They would be interested in continuing in the workplace if the right working pattern was in place

Useful Links
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11. Mythbusting

Myth Reality
Only younger employees are keen to develop their skills or learn new ones. Many older workers are just as keen to develop their skills as their younger colleagues. However, it is possible that they are not asked to attend training as often as their younger colleagues. Older workers will also have more experience learning and developing within a work environment, making them well suited to benefit from any future training requirements.
Older workers are set in their ways and inflexible. This is an outdated assumption, and many older workers will have experienced considerable change throughout their working and personal life, improving their resilience and adaptability.
Older workers are just waiting to retire. They are inefficient and unproductive. The ability of someone to do their job is rarely age-dependent; there is no need to assume that an older worker is less effective or less motivated than a younger colleague. In fact, many older employees may have grown and developed in the workplace as a result of training and experience. An efficient and productive mixed-age workforce makes sense for many organisations.
Older workers will always miss too much work due to illness/ disability. Even though some older people (like every age group in the working population), have a long term disability or illness, many can continue in work with effective management. Whether this requires small physical adjustments or flexible working arrangements, actively managing those who do have health concerns or a disability can ensure lower staff turnover and fewer sick days.
Older workers do not understand new technologies. Equally there may be aspects of work which younger people are less comfortable with, i.e. legacy IT systems. What is important is that where either case is true, appropriate measures are taken to train staff and bring them up to speed.
Older workers cost more than younger ones. If this results from a merit-based allocation of pay, than it is often justified, as the older worker may bring more experience to a job which demands more responsibility. However, if differing salaries are not as a result of merit, but solely because of age, than a case could be made for age discrimination.

12. Legal Requirements

To Do

  • Remove all improper references to a default retirement age within literature and corporate policy, and take steps to see that conversations around retirement are appropriately phrased
  • Ensure managers and staff are aware of, and act in accordance with, equality legislation, which provides for protection from discrimination in recruitment and employment
  • Promote awareness amongst employees regarding the near universal statutory right to request flexible working conditions
  • Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to make sure disabled workers aren’t substantially disadvantaged when doing their jobs.
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How to Approach Different Legal Requirements

  • Develop an equal opportunities policy with older age issues sufficiently supported
  • Ensure management are trained to appropriately handle flexible working requests, and reasonable adjustments and accommodations
  • Communicate with staff clearly and on regular occasions so that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law
  • Make use of appropriate legal advice to protect your rights as an employer and those of your staff
Abolition of the default retirement age
  • There is no longer a default retirement age at which employees must leave the workforce.
  • Normal performance standards should apply and, whilst the decision to retire should remain the employees’, employers are able to dismiss them following standard performance/ disciplinary methods if they are not performing satisfactorily – just the same as for younger workers.
Equality Act 2010
Discrimination
  • Staff are legally protected from being discriminated against as a result of any of the following protected characteristics; age, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy or childcare, disability, race, religion, being or becoming a transsexual person, marriage and civil partnership.
    • Within the workplace this extends to matters of redundancy, dismissal, pay, benefits, training and employment. However some matters of ‘age based treatment may still be lawful if it can be objectively justified’.
Different Types of Discrimination
Direct discrimination Treating an employee less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic that they have. For example, not promoting workers above a certain age, regardless of talent and experience, could be seen as discriminatory.
Indirect discrimination - when a practice, policy or rule is applied to everyone within an organisation and as a result…
  • A group which hold a protected characteristic are placed at a comparative disadvantage to others
  • An individual who holds a protected characteristic is placed at a comparative disadvantage to others and….
… The employer cannot demonstrate that the practice, policy or rule is a proportionate mechanism to achieve what is recognised as a legitimate aim under the law.
Associative discrimination Treating an employee less favourably because they are thought to associate with someone of a protected characteristic.

 

 

 

One example of indirect discrimination would be that managerial attitudes only focus upon training opportunities for younger staff, even though there is no rule forbidding the involvement of older staff. Another would be if staff participated in a regular test of their physical capabilities, and passing it was necessary to continue in work. If this test was not relevant to the role that they were involved in, than this would be discriminatory.

Statutory right to request flexible working

All employees, not only parents and carers, have a yearly statutory right to request flexible working arrangements, provided that they have been with the same employer for at least 26 weeks. Their employer must act in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice. This means they may only reject an application based on one of eight possible reasons: including a suspected decline in quality of work, or a lack of work available at the time requested.

Outside of the statutory request an employee may ask to work flexibly at anytime, and as many times as they wish.

However in these instances an employer can handle these requests anyway they think best and accept/reject a proposal for any (non-discriminatory) reason whatsoever.

Right to reasonable adjustments

All disabled employees are entitled to reasonable adjustments and accommodations within the workplace and their working patterns, to ensure that they are not seriously disadvantaged in their roles.

Disabled people are those who are recognised as having a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ physical or mental impairment, which affects their ability to continue in normal daily activities.

Older workers who may need such adjustments can be accommodated in the workforce in many different ways, discussed within the ‘Designing Work for Older Workers’ and ‘Flexible Working’ sections of this toolkit.

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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Myth

The legal restrictions on older workers are so onerous as to make them an inconvenience to hire

Fact

All workers must be treated in a manner free from discrimination, and with reasonable adjustments made for disabled and impaired employees where possible. Older workers do not require special treatment, only fair and equal treatment under the law

Useful Links
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13. Developing a Strategy for Older Workers

To Do

  • Recognise the need to develop an organisational strategy relating specifically to older workers
  • Identify how this strategy will be developed, and how it can be implemented most successfully throughout the business
  • Aim to be proactive, making the most of an ageing workforce rather than just ‘coping’ with it
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Why/How to Develop a Strategy for Older Workers

Why
  • Proactively managing your ageing workforce is necessary at a minimum to stay on the right side of the law
  • Actively taking an interest in the concerns of older workers can ensure that your business benefits from the a wider pool of labour and increases retention and productivity amongst its staff
How

Consider the following factors when deciding the appropriate strategy for better managing older workers within your business

  • Where can you build on the success of existing policies?
  • What actions can you take to generate enthusiasm and support from your staff?
  • Who do you need to bring on board in order to be successful?
  • What resources are you prepared to commit to make this agenda successful?

It may be that the needs of, and opportunities for, older workers within your business are best accommodated in one of the following strategies.

 

Focus Business Strategy - aiming to...

Older Age Only

Maintain a singular focus on older workers. This includes measures to support them in the workforce, through reasonable adjustments and protection from discrimination. It also includes developing a business plan to best capitalise on the rise of older workers, such as by ensuring that they are properly retained, retrained and recruited.

Age Diversity

Improve support for underrepresented age-groups, whether they are young, old or anywhere in-between. This recognises that people of different ages can all contribute towards the success of a business, and that discrimination can work both ways - in areas where young people may be discriminated against, older workers may benefit, and vice versa.

Broader Diversity

Promote better representation and management of issues concerning all minority groups. This touches upon each of the protected characteristics, so that organisational management is not only considerate of age, but also of race, sexuality, disability, etc.

Flexible workplaces/
Accommodations

Provide different measures of support throughout the workplace based on what each individual needs to thrive. This could focus upon changes in the working conditions, hours, or physical accommodations, which are available to all staff.

Responsive management

Manage according to a continuously responsive approach; aiming to identify the issues facing the workforce now and in the immediate future, whilst acting upon them as and before they develop.

Business Strategy – Age Diversity

McDonalds

Research was conducted in 2009 by The Centre for Performance-Led HR at Lancaster University, comparing the performance data of 178 company owned McDonald’s restaurants where one or more members of staff aged over 60 years of age was employed with the performance data of 239 company owned McDonald’s restaurants where nobody over 50 years of age was employed.

In addition a survey of 148 McDonald’s restaurant managers was completed.

The study revealed that levels of customer satisfaction were on average 20 per cent higher in restaurants that employ staff aged 60 and over. Widely recognised as one the largest providers of first time jobs in the UK, McDonald’s also has a strong core of older workers, with around two-fifths of restaurants employing staff aged 60 and over.

The survey of McDonald’s restaurant managers revealed the reasons behind the customer satisfaction boost delivered by later life workers:

  • Over two thirds (69%) said later life workers empathise with and connect well with customers
  • Almost half (47%) cited later life workers’ ability to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible customer service
  • 44% believed later life workers brought mentoring skills to the workplace, helping younger colleagues develop and mature.

Professor Paul Sparrow, Director of the Centre for Performance-led HR, Lancaster University, said:

The research clearly demonstrates the very real business value of recruiting an age diverse workforce. For McDonald’s, we can show that the presence of older employees improves customer satisfaction, and in a service led business such as theirs, this drives the bottom line. Mature employees are a key part of the performance recipe.

“This is good news for the workforce given the changing demographics of our society. We’re likely to see more and more people working for longer, either because they are sufficiently fit and healthy to do so, or to shore up their financial security. “Employers must rise to the challenge of adapting to Britain’s ageing workforce, and this research shows that there can be a sizeable prize at stake for those which succeed in doing so.”

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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Legal

There is no legal requirement for employers to adopt an official policy on older workers. However, if implemented correctly, it could be demonstrative of an employer’s support for the agenda

Myth

Identifying a policy on managing older workers within the overall business strategy is unnecessary and a waste of time

Fact

Older workers are becoming an ever larger proportion of the available workforce. Developing policy to help them in work, not only now but over the long-term, makes good business sense

Useful Links
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14. Knowledge Transfer

To Do

  • Understand the different types of knowledge which must be passed on in your organisation
  • Identify which employees possess knowledge which is not available elsewhere
  • Focus upon staff that have been with the business for considerable periods of time
  • Develop procedures of knowledge transfer, including mentoring programs
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What is Knowledge Transfer and Why Consider it for Your Business

What

Knowledge transfer is the passing of knowledge, expertise and sector awareness between employees. This is often knowledge imparted by older employees who have accumulated intellectual capital and identified smarter and more personalised approaches to business.

Types of Knowledge

  • Practical knowledge is that which is required to carry out the tasks within a role to the highest quality. It is knowledge gained from an understanding of common and best practice
  • Organisational/process knowledge relates to the processes which need to occur within an organisation in order to complete tasks. It relates to people, as well as being contextual
  • Network knowledge is an understanding of how best to work with specific individuals and teams over the course of tasks and projects
Why
  • When older workers are leaving they may take specialist unwritten knowledge out of the workplace
  • Knowledge transfers can demonstrate to older workers that their contributions are still valued
  • If knowledge is not successfully passed between employees, business may be less productive, innovative and efficient, and new staff members will begin at a comparative disadvantage
    • Clients and customers will expect staff to have retained the core knowledge and skills previously demonstrated
  • Successful knowledge transfer can help new employees in the business assimilate, potentially reducing training costs and employee turnover
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How to Manage Different Forms of Knowledge Transfer

Identify
  • Who is leaving your business, the type of knowledge they have, and the type of knowledge which you are aiming to transfer
  • What information is duplicated across other sources, and what is held within a single agent
Communicate
  • Take steps to ensure that older workers engaged in knowledge transfers are comfortable and confident whilst participating
Decide what mix of formal and informal mechanisms of knowledge transfer to use
  • Formal systems involve exchanging information in a planned and systematic manner. This can be written information, or formalised networks of personal support
  • Informal knowledge transfer often occurs through on-the-job learning, as a new entrant learns from a more experienced worker about the specificities of work
Methods of knowledge transfer

Mentoring is a well-known example of knowledge transfer in the working world. It is when a less experienced colleague is able to discuss matters of concern and interest with a more experienced mentor.

Older workers are more likely to be mentors as they have had more time within the workplace to build up experience, skills and insight to pass on.

To develop successful mentorships;
  • Ensure that both parties are keen to be involved
  • Ensure that the more experienced worker has valid and relevant knowledge to pass on
  • Allow appropriate time and means of contact for both parties
  • Consider promoting a standardised format, or set of guidelines, to facilitate discussion
Other types of effective knowledge transfer include:
  • Working in parallel; a more experienced employee and their less experienced counterpart work alongside each other on the same tasks
  • Phased transition; employees are ‘working in parallel’ in order to facilitate a handover of the job role, from the more to the less experienced employee
  • Documentation; more experienced employees write down tips and relevant guidance
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Myth busting

Myth

Knowledge transfer is not relevant to my business. All my new staff are educated and trained in the same manner as existing staff members

Fact

Knowledge transfer is not about ensuring that staff all have the same level of qualifications and training. Instead, it is about making sure that contextual, organisational and cultural knowledge not captured within these processes, is still passed on

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15. Performance Management

To Do

  • Understand what knowledge, skills and behaviours are required for different jobs; be specific in terms of outcomes required and areas of development
  • Develop mechanisms and procedures to assess the competency and skills of all staff, regardless of age and potentially using the 'planning, supporting, reviewing' framework
  • Hold regular discussions with employees regarding all matters of working life and development, not only retirement options
  • Consider the benefits of promoting Mid-life Career Review options.
  • Where appropriate, do not wait for scheduled meetings - act on issues as they arise
  • Monitor disciplinary and capability cases by age to identify trends or patterns in your workforce
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Why/How to 'Performance Manage' Your Workforce (incl. Underperforming Staff)

Performance management comprises the active steps taken by managers to support employees, and improve the performance of individual staff members within the business.

Why
  • Employers can no longer rely on the default retirement age as a proxy for addressing poor performance in older employees
  • Instead, all staff are entitled to be managed well and provided with opportunities for continued development in their role - there is the opportunity to catalogue skill development and improve upon areas of poor performance
  • Effective performance management can increase the efficiency and productivity of the organisation
  • Holding regular discussions allows issues to be aired by both sides, and allows a space so that any difficult issues can be addressed in a timely and constructive way
How

Performance management can be viewed as a continuous 3-part process:

  • Planning
  • Supporting and Managing
  • Reviewing
         Planning
  • Identify the employee’s objectives within their role
  • Make note of the competencies the employee will be expected to demonstrate
  • Managers should ensure that they appropriately prepare for each meeting
    • Bring completed appraisal forms from previous review exercises, noting where there is room for improvement
    • Work in tandem with the employee to identify the relevant evidence and methodology for assessing each competency
  • Individuals also have a responsibility to prepare adequately
    • Complete appraisal forms from previous review exercises and consider how well their performance compares with past targets set
         Supporting and Managing
  • Performance management should be seen as an ongoing process throughout the year
  • Management and employees should meet regularly, to discuss whether decisions taken within the formal review process are being acted upon
  • Managers must provide the support needed to act upon recommendations made
    • This could mean more training, fewer responsibilities in certain areas, or more oversight
  • Employees should communicate when they are facing difficulties in the workplace and when they are unable to meet an objective
         Reviewing
  • Managers provide feedback to their employees based on an assessment of their work against their objectives
  • Both discuss current performance, ambitions over the long term, and challenges faced
  • Employees should be ready to discuss the areas in which they have met their objectives, and the reasons for why they may not have met others
Mid-life Career Review

Mid-life Career Review i is an opportunity for people who are in their late 40s/ early 50s to take stock, review their options and plan for the future. The Review process aims to help people to manage their careers, find further relevant information, develop an action plan and address the life issues they face.

The Review process is currently being trialled by NIACE (http://www.niace.org.uk/current-work/mid-life-career-review) in a project looking to develop and test different models

Dealing with underperforming staff
  • Continued management of underperforming staff is possible within the planning, supporting and reviewing framework
  • Competencies which are not met should be identified, and methods of improvement should be considered
  • It is often helpful to have informal discussions on a regular basis and offer support to the employee, so that they can better meet their objectives
  • If improvement does not occur following this process, then there may be a need for formal mechanisms of assessment and improvement
Redundancy
  • Do not target older workers
    • It is illegal: equality legislation means that it is illegal to single out a particular age group for redundancy
    • It is inefficient: older workers can be as productive as their younger colleagues. They offer experience and skills which are specialised, have developed over time and are expected by clients
  • Use relevant competency/ skill criteria to assess members of staff, ensuring that each is treated fairly and judged according to the same competencies
  • Further develop performance management mechanisms, to ensure that concerns and poor performance are identified and tackled earlier

A proactive approach to performance management is required as underperforming staff can no longer be simply left in their roles in anticipation of a default retirement age.

However, performance management should not be seen as only a means of critique and discipline. Instead it should be considered an opportunity; to identify areas of promise and challenge, and develop them further.

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Legal/Myth busting/Useful links

Legal

In most fields of work there is no legal requirement to carry out performance reviews. However, a review system can help you to identify problems in the workplace before they develop further, and offer appropriate support

Myth

Performance management is embarrassing for older workers, especially those who have been in post for a long time

Fact

How employees view performance management depends on the efficiency and efficacy with which it is undertaken. Comprehensive performance management which builds on successes and looks to address challenges within the workplace, is most often appreciated

Useful Links
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