Many developing countries are battling with the aging of their workforce, while the HRM are faced with the task of addressing this challenge. Issues such as declining birth rates and generous state pensions have made this issue, even more, exacerbating over the years. The UN has estimated that by the year 2050 one of three people living in developed countries will be above the age of sixty. Many organizations are at risk of facing various problems because of the aging workforce combined with the lack of new employees. The HRM is finding it challenging to hire new employees to specific disciplines and even if they find those who are qualified companies still need to offer training so as to increase the productivity of these new employees. The HRM has the responsibility of finding ways to effectively manage the challenges and opportunities that pop up as a result of this aging workforce and the changes in the labor force.
The HRM is continually devising ways of adequately addressing the challenges and opportunities of the aging workforce to maximize the utility of older workers through the provision of training opportunities, providing flexible work and retirement options, and honoring their experience. There are several strategies that HRM can use to manage the challenges and opportunities of an aging workforce. The first approach is that the HRM puts efforts towards the inclusion of mature workers through recruiting and sourcing (Burke 15). Many organizations are finding it difficult to get workers from labor pools because of the change in workforce demographics which have resulted in a shortage of younger employees. Companies have started to recognize the value of attracting mature employees a good example is ASDA the largest retailer in the United Kingdom which has more than 20,000 employees who are over the age of 50 years. ASDA has recorded some organizational benefits resulting from hiring aging workers. One advantage is fewer rates of absenteeism in their stores.
The second strategy is the developing of alternative work arrangements to retain valued employees. The HRM is developing ways to maintain the aging workers before they retire by developing part-time, flexible working schedules. Telecommunication is also a strategy that is being used to keep mature workers as this can help them avoid the costs, time, and difficulties that come with commuting full-time. The HRM is also putting efforts to preserve essential knowledge before it is lost through workers resigning because of their age. This is done through mentoring programs where aging workers share their knowledge with the next generation (Burke 11). The retaining of essential experiences and sharing the lessons learnt promotes the knowledge of an organization and improves the operational and product quality.
The HRM is also providing opportunities for their aging workers to continually update their skills which are done through programs that change informal skills that have not been taught but are crucial for the work environment to promote the exchange of critical experiences. The HRM is facilitating the coexistence of diverse generations in the workplace through monitoring of age profiles, recruitment and promotion decisions to ensure there is no age discrimination, adding age profiling outcomes into the yearly diversity report, and creation of a mandatory diversity training program for its managers (Burke 21).
Most organizations do not feel the effects of an aging workforce for many years and only start to experience them after the situation is out of hand and begin to feel the pain of losing experts, managing intergenerational concerns, and incurring the high cost that comes with recruiting and training costs. The HRM is taking approaches to address demographic shifts within their organizations and in the labor markets to avoid problems that can limit companies in regards to productivity.
Burke, Ronald J. Managing an aging and multi-Generational workforce: challenges and opportunities. The Multi-Generational and Aging Workforce, 31 July 2015, pp. 1036., doi:10.4337/9781783476589.00007.
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