Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

Managing Older Worker's Performance: A Challenge for Polish Organizations

Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

Managing Older Worker's Performance: A Challenge for Polish Organizations

Article excerpt


Organizational measures which aim to facilitate the functioning of older people in conditions that guarantee their safety and health include age management. Walker distinguishes 5 reasons why interest in age management systems has recently increased (Walker, 2005):

1) Ageing of workers in European labour market;

2) Low professional activity of elderly people despite the increased share of this age group in the society;

3) Requirements of social policy;

4) Initiatives undertaken by employers;

5) Prevention of discrimination against elderly people in labour market.

According to European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, age management in enterprises should cover the following areas of activity (Naegele and Walker, 2006; Liwiński and Sztanderska, 2010; Bombiak, 2014):

* recruitment of workers,

* trainings, coaching, continual improvement of staff,

* change in work organization (the use of flexible working hours, adjustment of the shift work system, additional leave, staff turnover),

* promotion and protection of workers health, creating safe working conditions,

* transfer of elderly workers to positions less burdensome,

* programs for completion of work and entering retirement.

Effective programs of age management should be, first of all, systematic and at the same time preventative (Liwiński and Sztanderska, 2010). Preventative measures should be worker-oriented in the whole course of their professional career as well as in all age groups and not just for old workers.

From the methodological viewpoint of this paper, the concept of age management indicates precisely "what" activities should be taken into consideration. We use a widely-accepted and generally-oriented performance management (PM) system which indicates a need for its practices to be translated specifically to meet older worker's requirements. In other words the PM framework shows a system-oriented approach and indicates "how" to make older worker's productive. This is why we initially present a PM typical model with its practices (Table 1). Next, some theoretical aspects and practical examples of different companies are set out separately for each stage of the PM cycle. Afterwards, wide HRM politics are horizontally connected with the PM model as a complete system. This comprehensive approach to PM is vital in order to not neglect consistent results in terms of organization benefits as well as advantages for the individual.

2.Older worker's performance management

There is no doubt that age management must meet business model assumptions. We can sometimes see the benefits of having older staff in companies which provide specific products or services connected with age (for example, in the health sector or in the retail trade). An older work service can evoke greater confidence among older customers (Liwiński and Sztanderska, 2010). Performance Management (PM) tailored to older worker's needs has to derive from age management assumptions. A holistic understanding of managing employee performance is driven by a three-stage cycle consisting of planning, supporting and assessing performance (Armstrong, 2009; Hutchinson, 2013). The PM "good practices" perspective (Table 1) has to be then transformed into a framework of activities done by line managers on an everyday basis. A list of "7 levers of workplace productivity" could be listed as a framework for discussing the question of managing older workers (Beck and Williams, 2016):

1) Well designed work - jobs and work organised in ways that increase efficiency and make the most of people's skills;

2) Skilled managers - managers with the confidence and training to manage and lead effectively;

3) Managing conflict effectively - systems in place to reduce the likelihood of problems arising and to deal with problems at every stage;

4) Clarity about rights and responsibilities - a working environment where everyone understands their rights and responsibilities;

5) Fairness - employees who feel valued and treated fairly;

6) A strong employee voice - informed employees who can contribute and who are listened to;

7) Trust - relationships based on trust, with employers sharing information at the earliest opportunity. …

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