Front line confidence
know how old you are?" Satchel Paige (1906-1982)
An effect of the demographic change associated with the ageing population is a shortage of skilled workers. Organisations need to make the best use of skilled and experienced people. This includes extending the working life of older workers. For managers, having the right employees, with the right skills, in the right place and at the right time, is increasingly challenging.
Line managers have a key role to play in making sure older workers are developed, motivated and engaged 1. Line managers can be the key to how employees view the organisation and their work. Skilled managers are well placed to support the wellbeing of older workers, identify any issues early and implement interventions that allow older workers to participate fully in the workplace.
Organisations can respond effectively by building age management skills and confidence in front line managers:
- clearly articulate the age management competencies of your front line managers
- demystify the myths of an older workforce
- train your line managers in age management practices
- provide ongoing support to line managers on age management issues
- make performance management processes adequately address line management capability in age management practices
- recognise and reward line managers demonstrating quality age management skills.
In addition, organisations can better manage flexible work options for older workers. Many older workers require flexibility in the workplace, for a variety of reasons, and flexible work options are a critical enabler allowing them to participate at work. To achieve this it is important to build the following capability in front line managers:
- high level communication skills
- good negotiation skills
- high level organisation skills
- ability to redesign jobs, tasks and work processes to support flexible work practices
- strategic ability to see that the long-term benefits of increasing flexibility for older workers outweigh short-term costs
- effective supervisory skills
- high level performance management skills
Managers need to be supported to implement flexible work policies and procedures.
To take action, download the Front line Confidence guidance material.
 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives, Managing a healthy ageing workforce: A national business imperative, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, London, 2012, viewed 16 August 2013, http://www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy/policy-reports/managing-healthy-ageing-workforce.aspx.