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Mdtnshrm Managing An Aging Workforce


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At the Middle Tennessee SHRM luncheon on April 23, 2009, we discussed Managing an Aging Workforce. The attached PowerPoint Presentation highlights the key points of our discussion from a legal and human resources prospective.

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Mdtnshrm Managing An Aging Workforce

  1. 1. Managing An Aging Workforce Presented By M. Kim Vance [email_address] Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. (615) 726-5600
  2. 2. Our Aging Workforce Presents New Challenges <ul><li>Legal Compliance </li></ul><ul><li>Business Operations </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership/Management </li></ul><ul><li>Morale and Human Nature </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is the biggest challenge?
  4. 4. Managing An Aging Workforce Empower Your Management Team to Manage
  5. 5. Empowerment <ul><li>Step 1: Understand the laws affecting older workers and train managers to manage within the law </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2: Understand generational differences and manage them productively </li></ul><ul><li>Step 3: Understand the impact of an aging workforce on your business and manage for change </li></ul>
  6. 6. Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act Effective January 1, 2009
  7. 7. Is “age” a disability under the ADA requiring reasonable accommodation? NO.
  8. 8. But many older workers develop medical conditions that may rise to the level of disabilities particularly under the new ADA amendments. The result is that many older workers may need reasonable accommodations.
  9. 9. What Is A Reasonable Accommodation? Any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an employee with an ADA disability to perform the essential functions of the job.
  10. 10. May an employer apply the same quantitative and qualitative requirements for performance to disabled employees? Yes. Lowering or changing a production standard because an employee cannot meet it due to a disability is not considered a reasonable accommodation.
  11. 11. If an employee’s disability causes violation of a conduct rule, may the employer discipline the individual? Yes, if the conduct rule is job-related and consistent with business necessity. The ADA does not protect employees from the consequences of violating conduct requirements even where the conduct is caused by the disability.
  12. 12. The EEOC says employers may <ul><li>Prohibit inappropriate behavior between coworkers (no yelling, cursing, or shoving) </li></ul><ul><li>Require employees observe safety and operational rules designed to protect workers from danger in the workplace (factories with moving machinery) </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibit sending offensive emails or accessing inappropriate websites or excessive use of the Internet at work for personal reasons </li></ul>
  13. 13. Does the ADA require that employers exempt employees with disabilities from time and attendance requirements? No. An employer need not completely exempt an employee from time and attendance requirements, grant open-ended schedules (e.g., the ability to arrive or leave whenever the employee’s disability necessitates) or accept irregular, unreliable attendance.
  14. 14. You must, however, consider whether the FMLA plays a role in the application of attendance policies.
  15. 15. What is not reasonable? <ul><li>Removing essential functions </li></ul><ul><li>Lowering quality standards </li></ul><ul><li>Lowering productivity standards </li></ul><ul><li>Authorizing a completely flexible schedule or indefinite leave of absence </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerating poor performance when the employee does not request an accommodation until after a performance problem occurs </li></ul><ul><li>Excusing poor workplace behavior </li></ul>
  16. 16. No Law Requires Special Treatment Just For Older Workers With Regard to Productivity, Quality, or Workplace Conduct Rules
  17. 17. Legal Risks Are Increased By <ul><li>Recreating jobs for older workers </li></ul><ul><li>Making concessions to work rules for older workers </li></ul><ul><li>Letting older workers “slow down” </li></ul><ul><li>Holding older workers to lower productivity and quality standards </li></ul><ul><li>Allowing older workers to retire “on-the-job.” </li></ul><ul><li>Not managing generational differences in the workplace. </li></ul>
  18. 18. The New York Times July 26, 2007 “ When Whippersnappers and Geezers Collide”
  19. 19. “ Hello. W.U.!”
  20. 20. “ When I was your age . . . “
  21. 21. This is the first time in history that four generations are together in the workplace. <ul><li>World War II survivors (pre-1940) </li></ul><ul><li>Baby Boomers (1941-1964) </li></ul><ul><li>Generation X (1965 – 1979) </li></ul><ul><li>Generation Y (1980 +) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Generations at Work <ul><li>The events and conditions each of us experience during our formative years help define who we are and how we view the world. </li></ul><ul><li>The generation we grow up in is just one of the influences on adult behavior. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Events and Experiences <ul><li>Traditionalists: </li></ul><ul><li>Great Depression </li></ul><ul><li>New Deal </li></ul><ul><li>World War II </li></ul><ul><li>Korean War </li></ul><ul><li>Boomers: </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual Revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Cold War </li></ul><ul><li>Space travel </li></ul><ul><li>Assassinations </li></ul>
  24. 24. Events and Experiences <ul><li>Xers: </li></ul><ul><li>Fall of Berlin Wall </li></ul><ul><li>Watergate </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s Liberation </li></ul><ul><li>Desert Storm </li></ul><ul><li>Energy Crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Millenials: </li></ul><ul><li>School shootings </li></ul><ul><li>Oklahoma City </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Child focused world </li></ul><ul><li>Clinton / Lewinsky </li></ul>
  25. 25. Values <ul><li>Traditionalists: </li></ul><ul><li>Hard work </li></ul><ul><li>Dedication & sacrifice </li></ul><ul><li>Respect for rules </li></ul><ul><li>Duty before pleasure </li></ul><ul><li>Honor </li></ul><ul><li>Boomers: </li></ul><ul><li>Optimism </li></ul><ul><li>Team orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Personal gratification </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Personal growth </li></ul>
  26. 26. Values <ul><li>Xers: </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Techno literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Fun and informality </li></ul><ul><li>Self-reliance </li></ul><ul><li>Pragmatism </li></ul><ul><li>Millenials: </li></ul><ul><li>Optimistic </li></ul><ul><li>Feel civic duty </li></ul><ul><li>Confident </li></ul><ul><li>Achievement oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Respect for diversity </li></ul>
  27. 27. Generational Interaction: A n Example Traditionalists and Boomers may have a tendency not to question or challenge authority or the status quo. This may cause confusion and resentment among the Xers and Millenials who have been taught to speak up.
  28. 28. Generational Interaction: An Example <ul><li>Xers and Millenials who </li></ul><ul><li>have had different life </li></ul><ul><li>experiences and </li></ul><ul><li>communicate with people </li></ul><ul><li>differently, may fail to </li></ul><ul><li>actively listen to Boomers </li></ul><ul><li>and Traditionalists </li></ul><ul><li>thereby missing valuable </li></ul><ul><li>information and guidance. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Generational Differences in Caregiving Responsibilities <ul><li>Generation Xers have increasing Child Care responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Baby Boomers have increasing Elder Care responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>See EEOC Policy Guidance memo on Caregiver Discrimination based on assumptions about gender and caregiving </li></ul><ul><li>www. </li></ul>
  30. 30. When Generations Fail To Communicate <ul><li>May impact turnover rates </li></ul><ul><li>May impact tangible costs (i.e. recruitment, hiring, training, retention) </li></ul><ul><li>May impact intangible costs (i.e. morale) </li></ul><ul><li>May impact grievances and complaints </li></ul><ul><li>May impact perceptions of fairness & equity </li></ul>
  31. 31. Generational Feedback <ul><li>Feedback style </li></ul><ul><li>and form can </li></ul><ul><li>be impacted by </li></ul><ul><li>generational </li></ul><ul><li>differences. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Generational Feedback <ul><li>Traditionalists – “No news is good news.” </li></ul><ul><li>Boomers – “Feedback once a year and lots of documentation.” </li></ul><ul><li>Xers – “Sorry to interrupt but how am I doing?” </li></ul><ul><li>Millenials – “Feedback whenever I want it at the push of a button.” </li></ul>
  33. 33. Generational Work Performance Expectations <ul><li>Every employee should be held to the same standard. </li></ul><ul><li>No adaptation should be made that compromises the integrity of the job or diminishes the effectiveness of a department to carry out its mission. </li></ul><ul><li>All employees should comply with policies and procedures set forth by their department and the company. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Valuing Differences <ul><li>Information flows in all directions in a </li></ul><ul><li>learning organization. The most </li></ul><ul><li>successful leaders find a way to let every </li></ul><ul><li>generation be heard. They recognize </li></ul><ul><li>that no one has all the answers. This </li></ul><ul><li>appreciation of diversity allows each </li></ul><ul><li>group to contribute and be a part of the </li></ul><ul><li>growth of a department or organization. </li></ul>
  35. 35. How Many Of Your Employees Are Baby Boomers (1946-1964)? <ul><li>How many have been with your company for more than ten years? </li></ul><ul><li>How many have important historical information about how things are “done?” </li></ul><ul><li>How many perform critical functions that only they know how to do and do well? </li></ul><ul><li>How many are set to retire in the next ten years? </li></ul>
  36. 36. Should We Care? <ul><li>The oldest boomers are turning 62 in 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>By 2010 they will be eligible for Medicare benefits. </li></ul><ul><li>Although the economy has spawned lay-offs and hard times, many boomers still plan to retire at or before age 65. </li></ul>
  37. 37. If the boomers leave the workplace in mass, they will take with them a wealth of talent and institutional knowledge sometimes referred to as the “brain drain.”
  38. 38. What’s Your Plan? <ul><li>Know the demographics of your company. </li></ul><ul><li>Have conversations about career aspirations (not retirement) so you will be able to gauge when employees may leave the workplace. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider flexible work arrangements to keep some boomers around. </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-train and build teams to share and maintain skills and talent </li></ul>
  39. 39. Managing An Aging Workforce Empower Your Management Team to Manage
  40. 40. Empowerment <ul><li>Step 1: Understand the laws affecting older workers and train managers to manage within the law </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2: Understand generational differences and manage them productively </li></ul><ul><li>Step 3: Understand the impact of an aging workforce on your business and manage for change </li></ul>