In view of the (demographic) changes, the framework conditions in the working world must be redesigned, says Martina Kohlberger from the University of Innsbruck.
Currently, the picture is as uniform as it is clear: companies are dying out. This will not change as long as there is as much work as there is now. Because the number of people of working age remains constant (also thanks to the influx of people) at around five million people. Only the number of those aged 65 or older will increase. If the ratio of the working population to people 65+ is currently 100:31, it will be 100:46 in 2040, says Martina Kohlberger from the University of Innsbruck, who also works as a management consultant. On Wednesday, as part of the European Forum Alpbach, they will discuss “Solutions in real time” with Ralf-Wolfgang Lothert (JTI Austria) and Oliver Suchocki (EY Austria) at “Talk on the Alm”.
In view of the (demographic) changes, Kohlberger considers it necessary to think about how the framework conditions for work can be changed. However, adapting the systems requires a great deal of creativity from managers – and also courage.
“But companies don’t see this potential,” she says. Older employees are not just a “hidden reserve”: They carry knowledge and experience. “Companies have to create an environment in which knowledge is imparted.” A treasure that has not yet been unearthed, says Kohlberger. In addition, companies must invest in reskilling and upskilling and develop further. In addition, one had to think about a goal or result instead of the culture of presence. Continue to promote flexible working (time) models and (retirement) part-time work and also make job sharing possible for managers. And, especially in production, to think about the salary: the payment still depends too much on the number of units. Indirect managerial tasks and knowledge are not shown and compensated.
One of the roles is assigned to HR: “They have to strengthen executives so that they can lead well.” HR must “be a supporter of the executives”. For example, when it comes to job design, i.e. how jobs are set up. “Because an overload can often be observed,” says Kohlberger. Individuals are accepted for too many tasks, so that they no longer have the capacity to pass on their knowledge and, in general, commitment is likely to decrease due to overwork. “It’s a problem, especially when there’s a lot of work to do. HR must have an unbiased view here: How can working conditions be created so that employees can do good work in the long term?”
In addition, employees who constantly work at the limit are more likely to leave the company. “We know from marketing that customers who are gone are difficult to bring back. Expected, who may have already internally resigned, it is.” Which means, conversely, that when it comes to the framework conditions, don’t just think about the potential prospects, but also about the existing team.
Martina Kohlberger conducts research at the University of Innsbruck in the field of human resource management on questions of demographic development and diversity in the corporate context. She also works as a management consultant and previously worked for BMW, IBM and GE, among others.
One more thing: In many companies, those responsible primarily orientate themselves towards traditional workers and forms of work and do not have an eye on the fluid working world: gig workers, freelancers, people who are “only” employed on the side. Embedding them – without provoking bogus self-employment or precarious circumstances – can also be a way of attracting additional employees to your own company.
Kohlberger does not only see companies as having a duty in this transformation: What can I do to make work more meaningful for me and others? Older and younger employees would meet when it came to meaningful work in particular – meaning is important to both groups.
“Conversation on the Alm”: solutions in real time
“Die Presse” invites you to a hike, discussion and get-together as part of the European Forum Alpbach. Martina Kohlberger (Uni Innsbruck), Ralf-Wolfgang Lothert (JTI) and Oliver Suchocki (EY) respond to the dramatic changes surrounding the topic of work. Wednesday, 1.30 p.m., meeting point at the Congress Centrum Alpbach. Registration: [email protected]