Companies should promote "Aging Workforces" instead of writing them off

Employees over 50: Their most valuable resource is their many years of experience, which decisively strengthens the global competitiveness of companies through intergenerational exchange. In a recent study, the HWZ investigated how this knowledge can be activated, managed and used profitably.

The study used the example of the cantonal banks in German-speaking Switzerland to examine age management from the perspective of employees. Two-thirds are satisfied with it. Almost 80 percent of respondents would like to see a retirement age of 60-65.

It is important for the aging workforce to remain in the workforce longer in order to transfer expertise to future generations as part of knowledge management. Cross-generational expertise and experience in heterogeneous teams are increasingly system-relevant factors for companies in globalized competition. The "aging workforce" - employees over 50 - is thus in focus, whose expertise and experience must be safeguarded even after individual retirements. The looming loss of knowledge due to demographic change and the associated wave of retirements pose major challenges for companies in Western industrialized nations. The demographic asymmetry in conjunction with the decreasing intergenerational knowledge transfer and the declining number of employed persons additionally intensifies the personnel competition, also and especially at the Swiss cantonal banks.

Knowledge and experience assurance 50+

In their HWZ Working Paper on the potentials of the "Aging Workforce", the authors state that their needs are driven less by financial aspects and more by flexibility and appreciation. "The results of the study clearly show the economic and business benefits that can be gained by actively integrating the expertise and practical professional and life experience of employees over the age of 50, including for Swiss cantonal banks," emphasizes Matthias Mölleney, Head of the Center for Human Resources Management & Leadership at the HWZ Hochschule für Wirtschaft Zürich. Retirements too often destroy valuable practical experience, while the timely and intergenerational transfer of knowledge creates competitive advantages.

The global pressure to innovate is a key challenge for companies with a workforce that tends to be older. Generations that have been socialized differently by technological change often bring values and expectations to the work process that could not be more different. Intergenerationally relevant expertise must be secured and sustainably dovetailed. Swiss companies must integrate the "aging workforce" even more strongly into corresponding personnel processes.

The Study on the "Aging Workforce was conducted by Dr. Pamela Bethke, Matthias Mölleney and Daniela Strohmeier at the Center for Human Resources & Leadership at the HWZ. The study provides action-oriented recommendations on how companies can integrate these age groups into their processes.

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