Aging Workforce Term Paper

Pages: 15 (3864 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] " (Morton)

The Vietnam group tended to be more idealistic and took on an antiestablishment point-of-view and many delayed entrance into the traditional workforce. The article contends that this group eventually became dissatisfied with their ability to reshape society to fit their ideals. When this dissatisfaction occurred, this segment of the baby boom generation became workaholics and experienced a great deal of success. The article explains, "Many men started working "sixty- to ninety-hour weeks, far longer than their fathers ever did." (Morton)

On the other hand, the younger baby boomers, born between 1956 and 1965 were more influenced by Reagonomics and new computer technologies. This group known as the Me group were called such because they were focused on "polishing one's very self...observing, studying and noting on it." (Morton) In addition, this segment of the generation also developed ways to produce products for less money by using technology.

The article explains that,

Reaganomics provided instant wealth to many of this group who became the young urban professionals (yuppies). Landing good jobs and great salaries right out of college, they "thought instant wealth and instant stardom was as easy as putting on the costume, assuming the role or practicing the talk... There was no sense that one had to build through experience." (Morton)

Morton explains that this segment of the baby boom generation was able to find solace in their jobs until the economy took a downturn. When this downturn occurred, many were downsized and lost their jobs. Many women of this generation were more focused on career than family and tended to seek out higher levels of education than other generations of women. Many of the women in this generation were working mothers and attempted to balance work and family life.

With this being understood, managers may have to consider differing approaches for managing individuals from different segments of the baby boom generation. For instance, two of the characteristics of the Vietnam generation are determinism and hard work. Managers must attempt to focus on a management style that utilizes these characteristics and ultimately makes the organization better. This generation also seems very willing to accept change and to do whatever is required to get goals accomplished. On the other hand, the younger segment of the baby boom generation is more focused on self and may be a bit more difficult to manage. On a positive note, both groups are well educated and many have advanced degrees. This wealth of education and experience will present managers with valuable employees.

Another article found in Population Research and Policy Review goes into detail about the challenges of managing an aging workforce. This particular article reports the findings of a survey that was conducted to understand management's views of older workers.

In this article, Remery et al. (2003) found that many employers had some negative opinions about older workers that could adversely effect their ability to manage them correctly. For instance the study found that employers tended to look upon older staff as employees with a high level of absenteeism and a resistance to change (56 and 57% of the respondents, respectively). Half the respondents also felt that the way in which work was organized would have to be reviewed, that working conditions would have to be improved and that aging would have negative consequences for adaptation to new technology. A small group of employers felt that an aging workforce would have a negative effect on the company's image." (Remery et al. 2003)

Managing an aging workforce is an inevitable reality and managers should understand that their attitudes about older workers will have an impact upon their ability to manage these workers effectively. If a manger believes, the presence of older workers will have a negative impact upon the organization they may not attempt to meet the needs of older workers. Managers must be patient and have a positive attitude about the reality of an aging workforce.

Although some respondents had a negative view of older workers, many had positive views. The survey also found that "more than half the respondents, however, expected that an increase in the average age of their workforce would result in an increase in know-how and experience. Fifteen percent believed that an aging workforce would lead to fewer conflicts." (Remery et al. 2003) Again, having a positive attitude towards the management of older employees is important and necessary. If a manager is enthusiastic about finding ways to manage the aging employees, he/she will probably more successful at actually implementing an effective program.

The article also asserts that managers need to adapt an age conscious personnel policy. The study found that the organizations that were most successful at managing older workers implemented measures...aimed at accommodating older staff. Ergonomic measures were implemented by no fewer than 65% of employers. Additional leave/increased holiday entitlement for older staff was also common (62%), as were measures such as part-time early retirement or part-time prepension (51%) and flexible working hours (47%). Measures such as introducing age limits for irregular work/shift work, exemption from working overtime for older workers, and reducing the workload for older staff were slightly less common, but were nevertheless implemented by between one-third and 40% of employers. Prolonged career interruptions and training programs for older workers were less common. (Remery et al. 2003)

Indeed, such personnel policies make older employees more comfortable and can increase their productivity when they are on the job. In addition, such personnel policies allow older employers to feel more secure in their job positions. This type of policy can also benefit younger workers who will see that the organization will not abandon them when they get to a certain age.

Another issue that must be addressed in the management of an aging population is health and safety. Indeed, older workers may have very distinct health and safety needs when compared to younger workers. A report published by the AARP Public Policy Institute, insists that severe injuries to older workers are likely to increase and prove costly to organizations (Health and Safety Issues in an Aging Workforce, 2001). Managers have to certain that older workers can still handle certain tasks as they age. Managers may have to put some older workers in positions that do not require as much exertion so that injury can be avoided.

The article asserts that managers also have to be conscious about the health of older employees. According to the report, 1 out of 5 employees over the age of 55 reports that they are in fair or poor health (Health and Safety Issues in an Aging Workforce, 2001). This health issues include arthritis, high blood pressure, loss of hearing and sight and other chronic illnesses caused by obesity (Health and Safety Issues in an Aging Workforce, 2001). The report explains that all of these conditions can adversely affect an older individual's ability to work and be productive.

For this reason managers would be wise to implement programs that encourage healthy diets, exercise and screening for high blood pressure. The article explains that there are certain precautions that must be taken to decrease the likelihood of injury (Health and Safety Issues in an Aging Workforce, 2001). At the very minimum the article explains that any organization should be adhering to the OSHA regulations for prevent accidents on the job.

The article also reports that one of the best ways to avoid injury is through an ergonomics program. The article also reports that ergonomics programs greatly reduce the amount of musculoskeletal injuries that occur on the job (Health and Safety Issues in an Aging Workforce, 2001). Reducing such injuries can save the organization money and keep the experienced workers on the job longer.

A report prepared for the United States Senate, Special Committee on Aging seems to reiterate these beliefs. The report explains

Health-care strategies aimed squarely at preventing the debilitating illnesses of "old age" will - in an aging workforce - pay disproportionate dividends in the number of people who still "feel like working" into their 70s or even 80s. Case-management techniques and other "outcomes-based" healthcare approaches now gaining currency in the medical and private-insurance sectors show early promise of reducing long-term disability even further - while at the same time easing the financial burden of treating conditions previously allowed to arise or to become chronic in older adults. (The Aging / Workforce Equation...2003)

Managers and organizations must be aware of all the problems that occur as their workforce ages. Taking the aforementioned precautions could reduce the likelihood of injuries and declining health of older workers.

Discussion, practical guidelines, and an identification of questions needing further study

The purpose of this discussion was to explore the challenges of managing an aging workforce within any given organization. We begin our discussion by explaining that the problem of an aging workforce is particularly prevalent in governmental institutions. Our investigation found that one out of every five federal employees would be able to retire by 2005. We concluded that this… [END OF PREVIEW]

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