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How to Improve Engagement and Lift Productivity

How to Improve Engagement and Lift Productivity

  • 17 Jan, 2017
  • Geoff Pearman
  • Discrimination, Employing older workers, Engagement, Older Workers, Productivity, Stereotypes,

We have known for sometime that there is generally no correlation between age and productivity. The real issue is one of engagement. Yet the stereotype persists. We know that highly engaged individuals and teams are more likely to be highly productive.

New research has just been published in the Academy of Management Journal December 2016 from a study undertaken in Australia. Engage Me: The Mature-Age Worker and Stereotype Threat by Carol Kuik, Sanjeewa Perera and Christina Creegan.

Researchers at the University of South Australia and the University of Melbourne surveyed 666 Australian workers between the ages of 45 and 75 over a three-year period about their work experiences.

They found that employers who addressed and invested in older workers reaped significant benefits including a committed, stable and engaged workforce, however many organisations were “far from up to the challenge” and could face problems as the workforce ages and people retire later in life.

Lead researcher, Professor Carol Kulik, said in an article in Pro Bono Australia that reported on the research that age stereotypes were “notoriously persistent” in organisations.“Mature-age employees [are] commonly perceived to be less productive than their younger counterparts, lacking initiative, disinterested in learning or developing, and resistant to change,”

“Mature-age employees are aware of these age stereotypes and worry that they may inadvertently confirm them. The resulting stereotype threat demotivates mature-age workers and lowers their engagement.

“Our research shows that employers who address older workers’ concerns while also investing in training actually reap significant benefits including a committed, stable and engaged workforce.”

The need to adopt “age friendly” practices is imperative. We have developed an online tool that will allow you to review your organisation. Its free, answer 18 questions and get a free report on your state of readiness. Click here. We also have a more comprehensive workshop based approach where we can work with your HR team to review your people policies and practices against international better practice guidelines and with them develop an action plan. Contact us if you would like to discuss. Click here

The researchers have produced a 3 minute You Tube that nicely sumarises their research. Worth a view, especially as you have to pay to get a copy of the research from the Academy of Management Journal. Click here to view the You Tube. To read the full article in Pro Bono Australia that reports this research click here.

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