Strategic Age Management for SME in the Baltic Sea.. (BestAgersLighthouses)
Strategic Age Management for SME in the Baltic Sea Region
Start date: Nov 30, 2012,
End date: Sep 29, 2014
The extension stage project “Best Agers Lighthouses” focuses on implementation of age management interventions in selected small and medium-sized enterprises and public organisations in different Baltic Sea Region countries. The interventions will follow a jointly developed methodology which is based on the results of the “Best Agers” project, and they will be monitored and evaluated scientifically in order to determine the concrete economic consequences of introducing age management in human resources management. The companies and organisations will be promoted as lighthouses in order to provide employers with a concrete and practical model approach.The main stage project “Best Agers” has shed light on the changing role of older people (55+) in Baltic Sea economies that are confronted with the consequences of demographic change. As ageing and shrinking workforces become reality, it is clear that the mindset with which we see older people must change - especially in working life.In many EU member states there are currently heated policy debates about raising retirement age in order to safeguard the pension systems against ageing processes. These discussions have led to protests in many countries, and are unfortunately far too often based upon the outdated paradigm of a fixed age limit that separates working age population from inactive older people. The “Best Agers” project has demonstrated that older people can contribute to economic activities and innovation processes not only by reamining in employment, but also in various other roles – e.g. as mentors, senior advisors or entrepreneurs.With regard to the role of older workers in companies, the partners’ research has shown that employing older people can be economically beneficial both on the micro and macro level. However, it is necessary to adapt working conditions to the specific employee’s physical and intellectual capabilities and needs. This process is called age management.While research on age management has, particularly in Scandinavia, produced highly relevant results, very little of this knowledge finds its way into the management of companies and public organisations.In the "Best Agers Lighthouses" project, Local Age Management Partnerships (LAMPs) will be formed in eight partner regions. Each LAMP will consist of a project partner, a public or private employer, an internal mentor and an experienced external advisor. Together they will carry out an intervention that will identify threats and opportunities resulting from the company’s personnel age structure and help to reorganise HR management in order to make better use of the competences of older workers in key positions. The partners will demonstrate the benefits and success factors of applying age management to provide incentives for other employers to follow suit and to stimulate decision makers and Social Partners to give age management a more prominent role in national policy discussions. Achievements: The first and initial achievement of the project is a common understanding and rather quick agreement of partners in terms of project aims, contracting, preconditions, contents, structure and roles in the project partnership, when compared to other INTERREG projects. It is a big advantage that this extension stage contains only motivated partners with the will to go on after the main stage project. It is also considered valuable that obviously networks have grown and a certain name of the project (including the “Best Agers” project) has become popular in the respective fields, which makes the objective of communicating results and the project approach much easier. The most essential activities are the nine public and private employers that have carried out the age management interventions and that have proven successful in doing so. It turned out during the project starting phase that small and medium sized enterprises and public institutions were in some countries much more difficult to convince than it was expected before, although great efforts were put in the acquisition of employers by the project´s Facilitating Partners. This highlights and justifies even more the need for the project. Despite some hesitations, in all Lighthouse Organisations a common methodology was developed and applied how to analyse the needs and the initial situation of nine very heterogeneous organisations. These employers have been undergoing an individually adjusted and developed age management intervention and it already can be seen that they benefit positively – albeit very differently – from the project. A big achievement is that they all plan to continue the activities which have been induced by the project. This will certainly raise their competitiveness and already by now has catalyzed important discussions and strategic orientations inside these organisations. Furthermore, due to communicating and disseminating the approach, already by now among several other employers (public and private) in the partner´s regions awareness for demographic change and competitiveness through age management has been raised. This is one of the central project aims – that our lighthouses “shine” as good examples for others, even before the results of the evaluation and the cost-benefit analysis are published. Also other stakeholders have been sensitized to the topic of demographic change on labour markets on regional levels via several communication activities and on a European level via contacts and public seminars and accompanying presentation and networking activities.
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